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Peer pressure

Peer pressure

Teen: Dear Dr. Expert,

I was at my friend's house on Friday night with some of her new friends, and we were all just hanging out, listening to some music. One of her friends took out a small folded-up envelope and asked everyone if we wanted to try E. Almost everyone said yes! I couldn't believe it! When it was my turn to take a pill I felt panicked. I really didn't want to take it. I kept remembering this documentary we watched in health class about the dangers of a drug like E. I started to feel like a big loser. In the end, I pretended I had to go to the bathroom and then pretended my mom had called and told me to come home. I could tell two of the girls didn't believe me, and they were kind of laughing when I left. I don't feel like I dealt with the situation very well. What can I say if this happens again?

Pressured in Prince George
Dr. Expert: Dear Pressured in Prince George,

You were really brave in this situation! Many teens would have given in to the pressure and taken the pill, even though a growing number of teens have died after taking drugs like E. So good for you for sticking to what you believe and keeping yourself safe. You were wise to listen to your gut. If something seems wrong or doesn't feel right to you, then it probably isn't.

Situations like these are bound to happen again and again, so practice now how you want to respond. Blaming it on your parents is actually a pretty good strategy, as it allows you to save face with your friends (or at least try to). You can also work on just saying "no" or "I don't feel like it" to your good friends - this should be enough. If they are truly good friends, they will respect what you want. You can always come up with one-liners to help, such as, "Sorry, can't - got to be up early tomorrow for practice."

Seek out friends who feel the same way as you do about things like doing drugs, because there is always power in numbers! If you are really worried about a situation and think that there are safety issues (like someone you know has taken a drug like E and is having a bad reaction or you can't wake them up) seek help from an adult you trust and call 911.