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Dear Lyd,

I was very upset when I recieved your letter. Why do you have to speak to me that way? After all, we were best friends last year. Even after our falling out, I still tried to be your friend, but you have always refused.

You must hate me right now, but I know that you are lying. Remember the time when we were seven, and you pulled out all the rose petals from your mom's rose bush? I still remember the look in your eyes when you told Aunty Grace that it was the wind that made her rose bushes bald. When I passed you in the corridor at school yesterday, I saw the same defiant glint in your eyes. Lyd, I have known you for so long, why must you lie to me?

I know for a fact that you are taking cocaine. You can't hide the truth anymore! Your mother found cocaine hidden under your mattress, and she approached me, hoping that I would presuade you to drop the habit. Don't you know that cocaine will ruin you?

In the initial stages, you would feel more alert and energised. However, this effect will not last for long. I do not know for how long you have been taking this stuff, but sooner or later, after the effects of the cocaine wears off, you will feel more depressed than ever. I'm sure other people have noticed this change in you too.

I did a bit of research on the topic of cocaine, and the symptoms of cocaine addiction are very similar to those that you display. Have you realised that you are getting more and more restless these days? You have been experiencing muscle twitches and tremors. Lyd, these are serious symptoms! You have become more irritable lately too. I've seen you flare up at people during school, shouting at them for the tiniest mistakes. Lydia, these signs are all the short term effects of cocaine abuse.

Lyd, there is no safe way to use cocaine. The health risks you face will become much worse when you combine cocaine with alcohol or other drugs. Alcohol and cocaine combined produce cocaethylene, which intensifies cocaine's effects and may increase the risk of sudden death. Also, you will frequently feel upset and depressed, pushing you to use more cocaine just to feel "normal" again. These feelings of depression will become chronic, and your cocaine abuse will become worse and worse.

There are so many long-term effects of cocaine abuse, and alot of them are life-threatening! You face the risk of stroke, heart disease, respiratory failures, brain infections, gangrene and HIV. You will suffer from hallucinations, mood disturbances, and formication. You will begin to scratch and tear at your skin.

Despite the popular myth, cocaine does not enhance performance whether it be on the job, in sports or at school. Long-term use can lead to loss of concentration, irritability, loss of memory, paranoia, loss of energy and anxiety. The controlling effect cocaine has on an addict's life can lead to exclusion of all other facets of life. A habit can cost an addict thousands of dollars a week to maintain!

Lydia, everyone is extremely concerned and worried about you. Your parents already know about it! Talk to them. Stop denying it, and face up to the fact that cocaine will ruin you. It is not a dead end from here. Cocaine withdrawal is always an option.

Although you may undergo unpleasant emotional, mental and physical effects when cocaine is withdrawn, but it will be all for the better! I strongly advise you to go and see a doctor. For treatment, it is essential that cocaine is removed from you environment. Doctors can help you through recommending counsellors and therapists. There are also alot of ways in which you can assist in your withdrawal from cocaine, such as lifestyle changes. Exercise, adequate rest, and a good attitude will improve your condition greatly.

Lyd, I know the position of SRC President is important for you. However, if you really cannot handle the pressure, you should tell a teacher! I am sure they will help you by delegating less important tasks to other people. If you still cannot handle the stress, maybe you could consider a less stressful role in the SRC? I am sure the teachers will understand.

I am waiting for you good news!