Helping Parents Prevent Youth Substance Abuse

Saying Yes

Telling youth to just to say "no" to alcohol and drugs is not enough. Teen years are about asserting independence. 

Telling youth just to say no to alcohol and drug use will not help them be as successful as they could be. Research shows that youth who know Peer Refusal Skills and practice them are more likely to refrain from alcohol and drug use.

Peer Refusal Skills are specific steps youth can learn to stand up to their friends in a way that is respectful, and allows them to keep their friends. This process includes six simple steps:

1. Ask questions (Who? What? Why? Where?)

2. Name the problem (that is wrong, that is illegal, that is unsafe)

3. Tell what could get happen (I will be grounded, I will get kicked off the team)

4. Suggest another route (why don't we...)

5. Stay calm and cool and say your friends name (_____, listen to me… )

6. Start on your way and invite your friend to join you.


Parents should role-play and practice these skills with their youth to help them be comfortable using these skills in their life.



Use the TalkSooner app for tips on how to talk to your kids about not using alcohol or other drugs.