DR. WALLACE: I've been seeing a guy for about two months, and I enjoy going out with him, but he smokes a lot of pot. At times, he gets "glassy-eyed," but he always seems to be in control of his body.
When I question him about the amount of pot he smokes, he always has the same answer: "I'm not addicted, so don't worry."
I would like to know the signs of being addicted to a drug, even marijuana. I know all about medical marijuana, but this guy smokes like 10 to 20 joints a day. — Contact High, Lake Charles, Louisiana
CONTACT HIGH: The Johnson Institute deals with addiction, and they say that "If the use of drugs, including alcohol, is causing any continuing disruption in a individual's personal, social, spiritual or economic life, and that individual cannot therefore terminate the use of the drugs or alcohol, it constitutes harmful chemical dependence." This is one way to measure addictive situations, but in this present-day era with several states having legalized marijuana, it's cloudy at best in terms of how much is too much. As with any substance, there is definitely a point when over-the-top use descends into the more-harm-than-good category. We all know excessive alcohol use is harmful. So it's likely also true for excessive marijuana use.
CHECK WITH YOUR COUNSELOR
DR. WALLACE: I'm in the 12th grade at school this year and will get my high school diploma this June. I have decided that I want to attend a trade school instead of going to college. My goal is to own a printing shop. My dad says that some trade schools are rip-offs: They take your money but don't care about giving their students a quality education.
How can I tell if a certain trade school is a rip-off? — Mechanical Mike, Merrillville, Indiana
MECHANICAL MIKE: Check to find out if the trade school you are interested in attending is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body, such as the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools or the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Your high school counselor can find this information for you. It's great that you are taking your search so seriously. Your proactive due diligence will pay dividends. Good luck!
RESUME LOVING RELATIONSHIP WITH DAD
DR. WALLACE: I'm a 15-year-old girl. Three months ago, my mother and father got divorced. This was a terrible blow for me because my father moved out of our house, and I love him very much. Since he left, he has not contacted me. I'm sure the reason is that my parents don't like each other at all.
My mother is really happy I'm not in contact with my father. She keeps telling me he won't contact me because he doesn't love me, but I know that's not true. My father and I were really close when he lived with us. I know where my father lives, and I know his telephone number. Do you think I should contact him first? My mother doesn't like that idea. I'm a sophomore in high school. I'm so confused. Help! — Anonymous, via email
ANONYMOUS: I recommend you call your father immediately and resume your loving relationship with him right away. Mom will not be happy with your decision, but you owe it to yourself to make contact with your father. Make sure you constantly tell mom that you love her and appreciate her being a wonderful parent. Do not share stories about one parent with the other. If they want to know anything about each other, ask them to please not ask you but rather contact their former spouse personally.
Also, ask your father to give you some times that are convenient for him to get together with you in the evenings after work or on the weekends. It's important to both of you to get together in person to spend time together and maintain the great bond you've had up to this point.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.