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by Abigail Van Buren

Narcotics Anonymous Helps Those Overcome by Despair

DEAR ABBY: I just read the letter about the heroin addict who killed herself after writing "King Heroin Is My Shepherd." Her note mentioned "the doctor who told my family it would have been better, and indeed kinder, if the person who got me hooked on dope had taken a gun and blown my brains out."

Abby, I think the doctor who said that was partially responsible for the death of this young woman. She did not need a message of hopelessness and despair, especially from a person of authority and respect.

If only the doctor had encouraged her to hurry to Narcotics Anonymous, she might be alive today. Please print this so that other addicts may find new "courage, strength and hope." Narcotics Anonymous can be reached at 1-800-896-8896. -- CLOSE CALL IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR CLOSE CALL: That letter generated a flood of mail from readers whose lives have been touched by drugs, filled with important messages like your own. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I'm writing in response to "A Saddened Mom" who believes "it takes a village." It really does. I'm glad someone seems to understand that children involved with drugs need to be helped by the whole community. I'm 17 years old, and I've already had a close friend (who was on drugs) commit suicide. I wish people would understand that people don't take drugs because they are stupid or naive, as convenient as that would be to believe. People take drugs because they are depressed and believe they have nothing better to do with their lives.

I know a lot of kids who are on drugs and none of them really feel they are truly valuable people. If a parent, relative or close adult had really given them a reason to believe they were worthwhile, special and needed, they wouldn't have needed drugs.

"Straight" kids are taught to stay away from "bad" kids, which is too bad -- because peer pressure works just as well in reverse. Peer groups are oftentimes enough to save a child. Fortunately, most of my friends have been saved from drugs by peer pressure. I shudder to think how rare that is. -- YOUNG ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER IN NEW ORLEANS

DEAR ABBY: Thank you for the reworded 23rd Psalm, "King Heroin Is My Shepherd." It is powerful testimony against drug abuse. It's a shame that an educated, talented 23-year-old young lady had to give her life to produce it. What a difference she could have made in the lives of others if she had been allowed to reach her potential. The loss is incalculable.

Neither my wife nor I has ever used illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco. We have raised six children who, to our knowledge, have never used any of those substances either. For this success I give a great amount of credit to the reading of articles like this one to our children as they were growing up. They always knew where their parents stood and we tried to be totally up-front, honest and fair with them.

I am a volunteer high school teacher. I have already used this column as a teaching tool. Rarely do I have every student's undivided attention, but when I read your column to them, no one even blinked. There was dead silence afterward. I know it helped to reinforce the commitment of some to stay off drugs and help their peers to stay off drugs, too.

Thank you, Abby, and thanks to the 23-year-old's family for sharing that sad suicide note with the world. I hope some good may come of it. -- DENNIS J. DAVIS, GLENDORA, CALIF.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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