It can be difficult for any young person to resist the appealing/attractive lure of the advertisements of the seemingly harmless drugs: alcohol and tobacco, which are all over the place. These adverts make it look as if success and recognition automatically come with drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.
Take the example of just a few of these advertisement messages which every Nigerian youth is familiar with: Star Beer’s “Shine Shine Bobo”; Legend Stouts “Makes you feel so good”; St. Moritz Cigarettes “So high, the sun’s gonna shine on everything you do”; or Benson & Hedges’ “Turn to Gold, Turn to Benson and Hedges”.
The list is endless but young people need to know that those messages are outright lies-the exact opposite is what you get at the end of the day-Drugs don’t deliver any valuable goods. Rather, hundreds of thousands of people end up in hospital with diseases caused by the intake of drugs of addiction like alcohol, tobacco and other hard drugs like marijuana, heroine and cocaine.
Drug abuse has been identified as a big threat to youths’ and adolescents’ well-being in today’s Nigeria according to the National Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA)Report for the second quarter of 1998.
Apart from alcohol and tobacco, the drugs commonly abused by adolescents include marijuana, cocaine and other narcotics.” It is rather unfortunate that the incidence of drug abuse among adolescents has increased tremendously over the years and it is still increasing at a rate beyond the comprehension of many good thinking citizens,” so says the report.
Apart from the several health hazards of drug abuse, it is also responsible for the increase in the wave of armed robbery and other violent crimes. It also destroys the cognitive and affective faculties of the user.
Health-wise, it can decrease the male user’s sex hormone called testosterone, or interfere with a woman’s menstrual cycle. Many married men and women become unproductive(infertile)as a result of the drugs they’ve used in their youth and such people move about from one gynaecologist to another, spending lots of money to find solutions to the problems they created for themselves.
What those attractive adverts don’t tell is that thousand of people are dying every from lung cancer in hospital beds. They fail to tell you about the damage to children’s health. They fail to say how unattractive the smell of stale cigarette smoke is for hair and clothes. They fail to mention that smoking leaves athletes short of breath(even though many sporting events are sponsored by tobacco companies).
Drugs have been known to ruin the career of many promising stars like musicians, actors, athletes and intellectuals who would have made meaningful contributions to the society.
So, don’t get caught in the web. As an adolescent, through social interaction, chances that you can be influenced to join the club of drug addicts is very high.
You therefore have to be very assertive and learn how to say a big “NO” when your peers are taunting or teasing you to join them.
Developing peer pressure resistance and still keeping your friends requires a lot of thought, practice and support. You may want to try out a few suggestions offered to you here to see which ones you feel most comfortable to use.
Some joking lines to avoid smoking could be:
- “No thanks. I’m not into body pollution”
- “No I don’t want to cancer sticks.”
- “No I don’t want any coffin nails,
- “Are you scared to smoke without me?”
For drugs, you can be assertive with the following responses.
- “No thanks, I want to stay in control.”
- “No thanks, I don’t like to be high.”
- “No thanks, I want to keep a clear head.”
- “I don’t smoke grass, I just cut it.”
- “No thanks, it’s just not for me.”
- “No thanks, ‘real guys’ don’t need to drug”
- “No thanks, using drugs make me doped.”
- “No thanks, I want to a keep a clear head.”
- “No thanks, I’ve got to study later (or pick up a friend, or get up early).
- “No thanks, I don’t want to get into trouble with my parents (or teachers, friends grandparents, and some others).
To avoid drinking with your friends, take them out of it, just say NO or, excuse yourself.
You can also make the following jokes:
- “I never drink before I’m drunk.”
- “I’d rather hang loose than hangover.”
- “No thanks, not my brand.”
- “I might forget where I parked my brain”
- “No booze is good booze”
- “I don’t need to loosen up. I just got it together.”
You can develop your own refusal skills or enlist the support of friends, parents, and teachers but the most important response is to say NO or excuse yourself.
Adapted from: How to Say No and Keep Your Friends by Sharon Scott.