KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR |Annie's Mailbox Teenagers find new ways to get high

Dear Annie: I am the mother of a teenage daughter. Unfortunately, I have discovered a new wrinkle in the drug abuse scene. My daughter's friends are obtaining and hoarding prescription ADD medication, such as Ritalin, along with diet pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizers and painkillers. I suspect they are obtaining some of these pills over the Internet. They are using them as party drugs, mixing them with alcohol, marijuana, and so on.
Annie, I am sure this practice is not unique to my daughter's friends. Please help me get the word out about this dangerous practice. Worried Mom
Dear Mom: Some kids, in an effort to find new ways to get high, will mix almost any combination of drugs, especially if a "friend" tells them it's harmless. No drug is completely harmless. If the drug itself does not cause damage, the effects certainly can, especially if the drugs are combined with other substances. Under the influence, teens are more likely to have unprotected sex, drive while impaired, recklessly put themselves in harm's way, and in worse-case scenarios, jump off balconies and land in emergency rooms -- or worse.
The best protection against drug-damaged teens is an educated family. Talk to your kids. Tell them the truth about drugs, good and bad. Explain why you don't want them taking such risks with their health and their lives. When teens know they can count on you to be honest, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say.
Dear Annie: My life partner and I have a large circle of friends, which includes one fellow whom I dislike and who does not like me. I consider myself well-mannered and cultured, but this guy does nothing but gossip about others. His only areas of interest are celebrities, rich people and the chic crowd.
We spend every summer in a small resort where a lot of socializing takes place. I am friendly with most of the people he knows, and we see a great deal of each other, yet he goes out of his way to ignore me. I have been told he has an inferiority complex and finds me a threat because his friends enjoy my company, and because I don't tolerate his attitude. Should I remove this person and his partner from my social life? We have not received any invitations from them in over a year, and I know they do plenty of entertaining. We don't want to have a problem in our small summer resort, but since they stopped inviting us, is it OK to do the same? Social Dilemma
Dear Social: Yes, it's OK to stop inviting them if they do not reciprocate. This man may not be the most erudite fellow, and you do not have to be friends, but you might try being a bit less judgmental and see if that makes him easier to take.
Dear Annie: I can relate to "Ricky," who is obsessed with putting the lid back on the toothpaste. My wife doesn't put the lid back on, either. It never bothered me until the night I got up to use the bathroom. As I walked past the sink, I spotted a cockroach eating toothpaste right out of the unclosed tube.
I still cannot get my wife to take the problem seriously, so now I squirt out what is on the end of the tube, discard it and go from there. It hasn't damaged our relationship because this is hardly a deal breaker. Orange Park, Fla.
Dear Orange Park: Eek. That was a pretty disgusting encounter you had with the cockroach, but you are wise to choose your battles. Here's one more:
Dear Annie: My wife and I had the same disagreement about toothpaste. It took surprisingly long for us to arrive at a simple solution: Buy a second tube of toothpaste. Now I don't care what she does with her tube. No Need To Go Dental
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