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SPEAK UP, HELP FRIEND AVOID DRUG SITUATION

Question: If you were at a party and a friend of yours got caught up with a bad crowd [doing drugs], would you pull her aside and ask her to leave with you? Or would you leave her there so that she could get taught a lesson, knowing that that lesson might mean her life? And how do I MAKE her leave?

- Tammie, 16

Answer: From Peter Burgos, Darrick Montes, Melinda Ortiz, Papito, Maria Soto, Fernando Montes and Luis Colon, The Bridge, Camden, N.J.: We feel you should pull her aside and talk to her, tell her how you feel, and ask her how important the drugs are - more than a friendship? Give her good advice or take her to a rehab center. Also ask her why is she doing these things (drugs). Take her to the hospital and clean the drugs out of her system to stop the urge. Show her that you're still there for her and you are giving up time to help her.

Show her a mirror and ask what she sees and if she's not happy with who she sees, she can change. Tell her it is not too late. Tell her she doesn't need drugs to have fun and life is its own high.

We only had two members who suggested to give up.

Answer: From Pat Schudy: You sound like a good friend. You're also in a tough situation.

It can be pretty hard to reason with somebody who's on the way to getting high from any drug or to MAKE someone do something they don't want to do.

But you can be a strong influence - especially if you are good friends. Dr. Daniel Hoover, an adolescent psychologist from the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kan., says: "A lot of times, the person going along with the peer pressure is really wishing for somebody to help them get out of the situation, but they're not going to do it by themselves." He believes "a lot of kids would want to leave and would be able to leave if they had the support of a friend."

He suggests pulling your friend aside and asking her to leave. If you have other friends who feel like you do, get them to go with you when you talk to her. But having even one person who's willing to be with her to go against "the bad crowd" could make it much easier for her to leave.

If she won't leave, don't give up. Talk to her at a later time. If your friend isn't hooked, Hoover says she can probably stop on her own, especially if she has the support of a friend or friends like you. But if she is hooked, he says "it would take serious professional attention to get her to stop. The very first step would be to get an adult involved who can be trusted and who can help get her into treatment."

Question: Maybe your readers can help me. I am the mother of an 11-year-old daughter who complains every time you ask her to help you. Some examples: I ask her to pour milk for dinner and five minutes later, I am yelling at her to get it done. I ask her to help with laundry and she sticks her tongue out and makes faces and complains she has to help.

Would you ask readers what kind of punishment (to use or what to do) when kids refuse to help? I've explained to her that if her performances keep up, I will give her a one-way bus ticket to another city and she can find her own meals, shelter, etc. I've also taken away some of her activities she likes to do.

- A Colorado Mom

Answer: From Pat: Apparently your daughter, like a lot of us, really doesn't like to do chores and puts them off as long as she can. But it's understandable that you don't want to have to keep after her or put up with some of her reactions. For starters:

Sit down and talk with her when neither of you is upset. Tell her as a member of your family, she's expected to do her part. Let her know what the consequences will be if she doesn't do what's expected in a reasonable amount of time.

Never threaten to do something that's unreasonable, unrealistic or that you won't or can't carry out.

Follow through with the consequences.

Readers, can you help with other suggestions???

Send comments or questions to Pat Schudy, "Let's Talk, Universal Press Syndicate, 4900 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64112.