1. Explain to the class that today they are going to be given tools that will help them make decisions that seem right for them when influenced by friends to do something that they may not want to. In addition to receiving the tools, the session will also cover recognizing peer influence and getting a chance to practise using the tools.

  2. Introduce the topic of influence or pressure from peers by asking the students what they think the term “peer pressure” means and if it is always negative. Discuss using the term “peer influence” rather than “peer pressure” to move away from something that is always negative.

  3. Using the Range of Peer Influence slide (7.C), explain that peer influence can be positive or negative, direct or indirect.6 Ask the students to give some examples of each type of influence. Ask them “Is there a difference between negative pressure and bullying?”

  4. Ask the students to reflect for a moment about what kind of influence they personally might have on their friends. Depending on your experience with and knowledge of the students in the class, you can have them share their responses out loud or just reflect on the following questions: “Do you see yourself as someone who is likely to be pressured by others, or are you the one applying the pressure?”

  5. Finally, ask the students “Why do you think some teens try to directly influence others in negative ways? What do they gain from that?”

  6. Tell the class that, although you have been looking at four different types of peer influence, the things you are going to do next focus on handling direct and negative peer influence around using alcohol and other drugs. Tell the students that they are going to be given a toolkit for handling negative direct pressure.

  7. Using the True-to-You Tools slide (7.D), go over the first two of the four tools:
    • Remembering the things that you identified as important to you in an earlier activity (Activity 7.4) can serve as guideposts when deciding how to respond to negative influence.
    • Using the WHOA! model that has already been discussed can help you make less risky choices.

  8. Using the ADD slide (7.E), tell the students that they have the option to Accept the influence (and try to minimize the risks you are taking), Decline the influence (and use the “Get-Out-Of-It” techniques that will be described next) or Defer the decision until the next time (“No, not now. Maybe later.”).

  9. Distribute copies of Student Handout 7.E - Get-out-of-it Techniques ... When You Just Don't Want To to each student. Briefly go over each of the techniques. Ask the students to provide some examples of each technique using their own words.

6. The description of peer influence is adapted with permission from the British-Columbia-based Alcohol - Drug Education Service’s resource Making Decisions - Grade 7 (1999).