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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR READERS: Yesterday I printed a letter from Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret.), director of national drug control policy in Washington, D.C., in which he asked parents to act upon 10 New Year's Resolutions to Raise Drug-Free Kids. Space limitations prevented me from printing the warning signs he said parents should look for. Although there is no single factor for drug use, warning signs of a potential problem include:

(1) Drop in academic performance

(2) Lack of interest in personal appearance

(3) Withdrawal, isolation, depression, fatigue

(4) Aggressive, rebellious behavior

(5) Hostility and lack of cooperativeness

(6) Deteriorating relationships with family

(7) Change in friends

(8) Loss of interest in hobbies and/or sports

(9) Change in eating/sleeping habits

(10) Evidence of drugs or drug paraphernalia (e.g., needles, pipes, papers, lighters)

(11) Physical changes (e.g., runny nose not from cold, red eyes, coughing, wheezing, bruises, needle marks)

Help is available: Call this number for information: (800) 666-3332 and ask for the new Growing Up Drug Free Parents Guide. Call the hot lines for help: (800) 662-HELP or (800) 821-HELP. Or surf for information on the Web at or or

DEAR ABBY: Do you enjoy large, festive parties where the band is so loud you cannot hear the guest next to you speak?

We went to a very expensive black-tie wedding last week. Most of the guests left the room at various intervals throughout the evening in order to be able to converse with other guests without shouting.

The guests complained to each other about the loudness of the music, but no one felt they could speak to the host and hostess about it because they thought the loud music was their choice.

I spoke with the hostess about it today. She said she also thought the music was too loud, but she thought the guests were enjoying it.

Abby, is there anything guests can do about it? I am not complaining about music in general. It's only the very loud music I resent, which causes me to go home with a sore throat from shouting.

Do other readers agree? -- ROBERTA BERENS, ENCINO, CALIF.

DEAR ROBERTA: I'm sure many readers will agree with you, depending upon their age. It's a generational thing. Young people tend to favor loud music, which explains why so many have hearing problems in their later years. Had you asked the host, the hostess or even the band leader to tone down the volume -- your request may have fallen on deaf ears.

PONDER THIS: "Many a man owes his success to his first wife -- and his second wife to success." -- Sean Connery

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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