Bulletproof Your “No” to the Pressure of Sharing ADHD Medication
This post was developed in collaboration with Adlon Therapeutics L.P, a subsidiary of Purdue Pharma L.P. Personal opinions expressed within this post are my own.

As a continuation of my mini-series on sharing prescription medication, I will give you some tips on how to say NO to the pressure of saying YES.

Have you ever felt tempted to share your prescription ADHD medication with others? An option that you almost gave into? The whisper and teases of your friends urging you to do an unwise thing just once AND you seriously contemplate it. You might feel torn and conflicted to be chill and just go along with it but feel scared of the consequences. Can you relate to these feelings?

For a thoughtful answer to these questions, we should first consider why people would do it in the first place. Turning someone down by saying no may feel unnatural, like you’re rejecting that person as a friend.

Saying yes is easy. It can make a person happy, which can trigger feel-good brain chemicals called dopamine. It is in our human nature to want to help others and make them feel good too. Take for instance, the feeling of giving someone a gift. Have you ever given a gift or done something for someone else without getting something in return and felt more satisfaction than when you have done something with getting something in return? This is that release of “happiness brain chemicals.” When you act in a way to help others, it makes you feel good.

It is in our nature to want to go along with things that make us feel happy. Think how fun it is to be in a group situation where everyone wants to do the same thing. The expectation is to go along with whatever the group wants to do. Many find themselves saying yes to things that are out of their element. This is often referred to as peer pressure. It can be a powerful dynamic for the good…or bad.

Let’s face it, “No” stings and hurts. Think back to a time in your childhood when you wanted something, and you got the big “N-O” word. If you are like me, the words N-O echoed in your eyes and vibrated down to your sinking heart with a slight tinge of pain in your stomach. You may have felt devious enough if the something you wanted was big enough or had substantial pull for friend power, prestige or coolness factor that you planned a way to get it without them knowing. The N-O means NO word has a lasting effect that many do not want to project onto other people. We prefer to avoid these feelings for ourselves and others. So, a yes mentality prevails for most people as we could have developed an oversensitivity to what an N-O NO stance/mentality means to us socially. The person may compromise values and healthy boundaries. Going along with a yes mentality can harm your mental well-being, leaving you conflicted with your values and even in danger of getting you in legal trouble when it comes to sharing prescription medications.

But…. Saying No Has Its Perks

Establishes Your Inner Value Compass

When you have strong values, it can feed into your identity and leave you in charge of your life outcome. It will command a level of respect from people if you set clear values with boundaries around them. The key here is to know your boundaries and be consistently firm with them.

Establish your own art of conveying those boundaries with a style that gets the point across. If someone asks you to cross that boundary, they know what the answer will always be… NO!

For example, you can be direct and courteous with a request to share your prescription medication when someone asks you.

You can say, “I am not allowed to share my medication, but I can help you get in touch with my physician if you are struggling.” A referral does not guarantee that someone will be diagnosed with ADHD or prescribed a stimulant medication, but it can steer the conversation in a better direction. Ultimately, only a doctor can make those determinations.

Another option is

“I hope this doesn’t offend you, but as a rule, I do not share my medications.”

Both of the statements are examples of how you can acknowledge their situation while establishing a boundary to protect your values. Establishing a clear value message with the person asking you to do something illegal will curtail any chance of them coming back to you in the future. In my article, Selling or Sharing Your ADHD Meds https://www.razcoaching.com/selling-or-sharing-your-adhd-meds/ I share a story of how a student shared prescription medication to help a friend study for an exam that mushroomed into a drug raid in his college dorm.

It is not easy to be a NO person…. But the benefits of defining your boundaries and values are worth it!

Look at the true cost of saying yes to giving or selling your prescription medication. The potential cost is not worth it.  Give yourself the motivation to set ways to say NO to your friends who want your prescription medications. So, here are a few more tips.

A friend may say, “C’mon man, IT IS ONLY 1 pill.” You know the true cost of that pill can get you into a whole lot of legal trouble.[1]

Find your voice by saying,

“Let Me Hook You Up……”

Your reply should include a strong stance that means No. Say, “I don’t share my medications.” You can then follow up with an alternative for the person. “But, let me hook you up with my awesome psychiatrist if you are struggling.”


“My psychologist is a great resource, if you are struggling, though; I will hook you up and text them to you.”

It is important not to apologize about your stance. Just simply state it and the more you practice saying it, the less emotion you will have in your voice. Remember that your self-worth does not hinge on being a yes person, in fact, quite the opposite. Knowing your values and establishing your boundaries will promote your self-worth and show personal responsibility and maturity.

Here is another resource for developing powerful ways to help you, say NO.  Pick a few that work for you and practice them, so you own it and feel confident to say them when asked.

  • “You are putting me in a really awkward situation. I don’t appreciate that.”
  • “Wow. I’m surprised you would ask to use one of my pills.”
  • “If I give you one of mine I will run out before I go to the doctor again.”
  • “My parents count my pills. They will know if I’m missing one.”
  • “I’m only given a few at a time by my doctor. She will know if any are missing.”
Or, you can simply be straightforward in saying no.
  • “No”
  • “Seriously? No.”
  • “Let me think about that for a minute…no.”
  • “Um… no”
  • “Nope.”
  • “Not a chance.”
  • “I’m not going to do something that is a federal crime.” 1

Think of your own greater good when confronted with the request to share your prescription medication.  It will send a message that you know who you are, what you value and what boundaries you have set to live your life by. In the end, you will be gaining the respect of your friends and demonstrating that you are a leader and not just a yes person.

Michelle R. Raz, M.A. Ed., is a professional executive function coach and educational consultant. She specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD be the best version of themselves in their academic and career journeys.

[1] Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Scheduling. https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling