Refusal skills involve verbal and nonverbal communications aimed at refusing offers for substances. Refusal skills were first studied and applied by behavioral psychologists. Over time, refusal skills training has been incorporated into various programs and interventions aimed at substance use prevention, treatment, relapse prevention, and recovery.

Refusal skills are important because people at risk for substance use often encounter or seek environments where substances are readily available. In addition, people at risk for substance use often find themselves within social groups where substance use is a widely accepted behavior. Therefore, a person with at least some desire not to use substances will be less likely to use alcohol and other drugs if he or she effectively refuses offers for substance use. Yet effective refusal of substances ...

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