Making Choices about Alcohol and Substance Use
The risk of developing a substance use disorder may be higher for people with an FASD compared to their peers. And people with an FASD are more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior.
Curiosity and experimentation can be a normal part of growing up, but it is important to understand your specific vulnerabilities and make healthy decisions surrounding alcohol or substance use.
Reasons for higher risk include:
- Biological or genetic vulnerability to develop substance use disorders
- Individuals with an FASD may use alcohol or substances to self-medicate issues such as anxiety, depression or mood disorders
- Individuals with an FASD tend to have difficulties with impulse control, making them susceptible to developing a substance use disorder
Ways to Say No When Faced with Peer Pressure
Young people with an FASD can often give in to peer pressure. They may make risky choices to feel accepted by their peers. Everyone wants to “fit in” and make friends – but it’s important to find friends who help you be your best you.
When using these phrases, make sure your body reflects your words. When saying no to risky behaviors, use direct eye contact, sit up or stand up straight.
Be polite, but firm when saying no
“Thanks for including me, but no, I’m not going to do that”
Suggest an alternative activity
“I’m not going to to that, but we can do this instead”
Make a joke
“You know sometimes I make wild decisions, but I’m not today”
Tell them your consequences
“That isn’t worth it for me because if I get caught I will lose my phone”
Remember, healthy friendships allow the other to say “no.”
1 A. Lynch, S. Nemes, J.N. Karp. Social Solutions International, Inc., United States.
2 Streissguth AP. FASD and Secondary Effects. Longitudinal study conducted by Dr. Anne Streissguth, Washington. Prepared by Diana Fox, for FASEout. Ottawa; 2008.