Dear Annie: My boyfriend, "Keith," is a psychiatrist. Not long ago, I discovered that he has been writing prescriptions for his own use and putting them in my name. I saw two prescriptions for controlled substances around the apartment. They had been filled at my pharmacy, under my name. He said he wanted my insurance to cover most of the cost.
I believe Keith is committing some kind of criminal offense, and I told him I objected vigorously to his actions. He responded that I am "too uptight." Please let me know whether I am correct.
—New York City Woman
Dear NYC Woman: Your boyfriend is committing insurance fraud, among other ethical and legal violations, and you are right to tell him to knock it off. Keith may have a serious addiction problem. Fortunately, there are treatment programs for doctors with substance-abuse difficulties. You or Keith should contact his state medical society about its physicians' health program and ask for assistance.
Dear Annie: My sister and her husband were transferred out of the country on business, and I agreed to let my niece, "Luisa," live with me so she could finish high school. Her mother and I set up a bank account so Luisa's parents could send money for her living expenses. To date, not one cent has been put into the account.
Luisa has accumulated $500 in long-distance phone charges, and my husband and I suggested she get a job to pay it off. We think it will help teach her responsibility. Meanwhile, although Luisa calls her parents now and then, they have never called here and have yet to speak to us about their daughter.
We love helping out and doing our part as a family, but we did not expect to take on so many additional expenses. We don't want to look greedy by asking Luisa's parents to contribute when we know they don't make a lot of money and we are more fortunate. As Luisa's guardians, we should be discussing this situation with her parents, but I'm afraid it would cause problems.
I don't know how to handle this, and her parents are no help. Why do I feel bad?
— Stuck in the Middle from Oklahoma
Dear Stuck: You feel bad because you are being taken advantage of, and you are mistaking it for family loyalty. Not to mention Luisa's parents don't seem all that interested in their daughter's welfare and you'd like to be a loving substitute.
Luisa's parents are neglecting their obligations. Pick up the phone and call them. Explain, nicely, that their daughter has run up a $500 phone bill and you want to know if they intend to pay for it, otherwise Luisa will be getting a part-time job to work it off. Also suggest they start depositing a monthly sum into that account so their daughter can have some spending money.
You are doing Luisa and her parents a huge favor by taking her in and caring for her while they are away. The least they can do is help support her. Stop feeling guilty about asserting yourself. It's time.
Dear Annie: This is for the woman who complained about the mother's dogs climbing on the table and eating from the plates. A fellow trainer shared an effective cure with me. Each time you sit down to eat, have a towel or small bed positioned near the table and periodically toss a scrap onto it for the dog. Within a few days, the dog will automatically go to its towel (or bed) when you sit down, since that's where the treat shows up.
— Danny Thomason, Grateful Dawgs Training
Dear Danny Thomason: Our readers will appreciate the useful tip. Thanks.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailboxattbi.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611; © Creators Syndicate