The day started well enough for Malcolm, who was with his group of friends at the skate park. The sun was glorious, and much to their excitement, they had the entire park to themselves that day. As part of their weekend routine, they would try out the latest skateboarding stunts in the morning and head for brunch after that.

Offered Illegal Drugs by “Friends”

During the break, Malcolm and his friends moved to a bench at the side of the park and took out their energy drinks. At this moment, one of his friends beckoned him to peek into a bag. Inside the bag were small transparent packets of white powdery substance. “What are those?” asked Malcolm. “Good stuff. These drugs can make you high.” Replied his friend confidently.

Malcolm had been with this group of friends for several months, and sometimes, they had encouraged him to try alcohol and smoking while they were out. Malcolm was wise to refuse them but he was certainly shocked to be offered drugs this time. The pressure was mounting on him, but he really wanted to gain the trust of his newfound friends.

How to Say No to Drugs

It may be stressful to reject friends for fear of being cast out of the clique, but there are situations in life where you need to make a stand. This is especially so when you are being offered cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Saying ‘no’ is tough, but here are some ways to cross the hurdle:

  • Be direct and firm when saying “No” to the offer
  • Repeat yourself and insist on your decision (Stand your ground)
  • Walk away if you are being offered drugs despite rejecting it several times
  • Changing the topic (Malcolm can change the topic by saying, “I’m hungry. Let’s go grab a bite?”)
  • Remind the other party about the harmful effects of illegal drugs and substance abuse to reject the offer
  • Counter-challenge the offer (Malcolm can reply to his friend by saying, “We all know that drugs are addictive and dangerous, even from the first try. If you are really my friend, you should not offer me such things.”)

Malcom is crumbling under the pressure of his friends. All of us experience peer pressure in one form or another, and it is an uncomfortable situation to be in. If we take a step back and relook at the situation, we will be able to distinguish good friends from the less desirable ones.

What Are Good Friends?

Friends may come and go in your life but it is more important that they accept you for who you are. A good friend is someone who can provide a reliable source of support no matter the situation, someone who lends a listening ear and someone whose company you enjoy. Stay away from ‘friends’ who urge you to get involved in the abuse of illegal substances because it is your health that will be damaged.

How To Be a Good Friend

Be ready to listen, even if you do not have the answers to the issues. Sometimes, what a friend needs is someone to talk to, to sort out their thoughts before deciding on the next step. Positive gestures like being attentive, acknowledging their emotions and hugging are great ways to show friends that you care and that they are not alone.

What You Can Do To Stop Drug Abuse 

Visit the CNB website for more information on drug abuse.

If you notice a friend behaving strangely and the signs match those of drug abuse or drug addiction, immediate help must be rendered. You may contact the following helplines:

1) Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA)

Tel:  6732 1122 (Sengkang branch) OR 9847 5102 (Lakeside branch)

2) Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)

Tel: 1800-221-4444* (24 hours daily)

3) Teen Challenge (Singapore)

Tel: 6793 7933 (Mon-Fri, 9.00AM – 6.00PM)

4) National Addictions Management Services (NAMS)

Tel: 6732 6837 (Mon-Sun, inclusive of PH 8AM – 11PM)

If you have been approached to try drugs or wish to report any information, please call the CNB hotline at 1800-325-6666*

This article was first published on Youth.SG.

The article has been contributed by the Central Narcotics Bureau.

*Kindly note that airtime charges apply for mobile calls to 1800 service lines and calls are free of charge only if made from regular land lines.

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