DR. WALLACE: I'm not involved in the drug scene. I've never taken a drug and never will. I've dated two guys who did drugs. One was doing meth and smoking pot, and another did cocaine and then crack cocaine.
The guy who did cocaine occasionally really flipped out when he started smoking crack cocaine. I really cared for this guy, but crack cocaine changed his personality.
What's in crack cocaine that makes a person flip? He would really go nuts sometimes on that stuff. — Angel, El Paso, Texas
ANGEL: I receive many letters and emails from readers wanting information on crack cocaine.
The introduction of crack cocaine into the drug community was particularly alarming. First, the cost of crack is dramatically less than other forms of cocaine. Next, crack is usually mixed with tobacco or marijuana and smoked. Smoking crack allows high doses of cocaine to reach the brain almost instantly, producing the most dramatic cocaine high. This rapid "high" is followed by a deep "low" that leaves the user craving more and more to regain the "high." As a result, crack can be quite rapidly addicting.
Besides addiction, crack can cause medical problems and even death. The powerful cravings for crack cocaine make it very difficult for the user to break the habit alone. Most cocaine addicts need professional assistance. Need I say more? Stay far away from anyone who uses this very dangerous substance.
I MISS MY FATHER VERY MUCH
DR. WALLACE: I'm responding to the letter a girl wrote saying that she loves her father very much but is afraid for his health because he is a regular smoker. I understand what she is going through. I will be getting married in a few months. My brother-in-law will be giving me away instead of my father.
Dad died five months ago from lung cancer. He started smoking when he was 18 and was diagnosed as having lung cancer this past spring. I begged and pleaded with him for years to quit smoking for good, but he couldn't. He kept telling me that he only had one bad habit and that it wouldn't kill him. Dad died six weeks after the doctor told him he had lung cancer and had only a short time to live.
Watching my father die was almost more than I could bear. He was only 49 when his life was snatched away from us. I miss my father very much. Even though I find it difficult, I visit his grave often to tell him about the important things that are happening in my life.
Teens, your parents and loved ones are much too precious to lose because of a silly habit. Don't ever stop nagging, pleading, cajoling and begging mom and dad to quit if they are smokers. I wish I had done it more. — Anonymous, via email
ANONYMOUS: Your letter will reach thousands of teens and parents, so thank you very much for your heartfelt life experience. Your message will make a deep impression on many readers — both teens and parents. We appreciate you for caring and sharing your story publicly.
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.