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Joan's juniors: Boyfriend insists I smoke drugs.

Byline: Joan Burnie

Q I USED to smoke cannabis, but my mum caught me and she asked me not to do it.

She cried and said she was worried I was going to end up doing smack and dying. So I stopped doing it because I love my mum.

But it is very hard because all my best friends smoke and they laugh at me because I have said I am not going to do it any more.

But now I am seeing a guy and I really, really love him, but he uses cannabis and he says I am being silly.

He says his dad and his big brother have smoked it for years and years and it has never done them any harm.

He has also been getting at me over my dad because he drinks a lot and that is why my mum left him.

My boyfriend says my dad is an alcoholic and that is a lot worse than someone who smokes a little cannabis.

So I am confused and this is causing big problems because if I don't smoke with him and his pals, I think he will leave me and then I will feel like killing myself.

But if I start again and my mum finds out, she will cry again and I don't want her to. Please help me.

A I DON'T think this boy is anything like good enough for you. I know you love him, but it doesn't sound to me as if he has any real feelings for you.

Quite apart from the cannabis, talking about your father in that way isn't a nice thing to do.

Even if he does have problems with drinking - which, if your mum left him because of it, he clearly has - he's still your dad and you don't need other people bad-mouthing him, especially when they're doing it for the reason this guy is.

I'll not pretend that alcoholism isn't just as big and some might even argue a bigger problem than drugs. But then, given your family situation, you don't have to be told that, do you? At the same time it's wrong to say cannabis is harmless. It's not.

There's increasing evidence not only that it can lead to people trying stronger drugs, which is what your mum fears, but that it can cause mental health problems.

It's also, of course, illegal. I know a lot of kids - and adults as well - have got it into their heads that it's now not an offence to use it, but it is. So the advice is to keep away from both the drug and those who use it.

I'm aware that it's easy for me to say when you're faced with it day in, day out, but keep to talking to your mum and also have a word with Childline on0800 1111.

QI SNOGGED another girl at a sleepover and it was okay, but it was just for a laugh. I am not gay or anything.

We were just carrying on and there were no boys or anything.

Anyway, another girl took a photo on her phone of us doing it and now people are saying am a lesbian.

The other girl says she doesn't care because it's cool and gay girls get all the boys. But I don't like everyone talking about me and am finding it very hard to cope.

AYET another reason why I often think photo phones would have been better if they hadn't been invented.

Anyway, they are a reality and now we've all got to cope with the consequences.

I'd try to ignore the chit chat - unless it becomes bullying when you'll have to involve the school as well as your parents.

But my feeling is that if you don't react, it'll be a seven-day wonder and they'll all move on to talking about someone else.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 7, 2005
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