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Dear Abby: Due to various anti-drug lectures he was exposed to at school, my 13-year-old son believes that marijuana is not only illegal, but also is very bad for you. He said it is poison.

My state has recently legalized marijuana and I am at a loss about how to explain to him that pot is no longer “that bad,” as people partake of it in a responsible manner going forward. Any suggestions?

– Colorado Mom

Dear Mom: The marijuana being sold to adults in the states where it is now legal is not poison, it has been carefully cultivated and harvested. Its use is not encouraged among teenagers, however, because research has shown it can impair brain development among young people.

Stress to your son that like alcohol, marijuana can slow reaction time and impair judgment and memory, which is why it’s illegal for minors to use it. Whether it will become legal across the nation is still an open question. If it’s abused the way that alcohol sometimes is, smoking weed may also be harmful because, like any smoke, it poses a risk to the lungs.

Help is a hotline away

Dear Abby: I moved into my boyfriend’s home several months ago. In the beginning, he was very attentive and we had fun together. But over the last couple of months, he has become abusive and unbearable to live with. He orders me around and double-checks to make sure I’m doing things “his way.”

I feel as though there isn’t room to breathe and no way out. I have lost weight, and I’m having trouble sleeping now. I have no family or friends who can help me out. I want to end this misery! But how?

– Miserable in Florida

Dear Miserable: Pick up the phone and call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233). Although your boyfriend’s controlling behavior hasn’t yet escalated to physical abuse, it very well could. The counselors at the hotline can help you to formulate a plan so you can safely get away. Please don’t wait to make the call, because the symptoms you’re having are ones of extreme stress.

Taco salad techniques

Dear Abby: Can you please tell me the proper way to eat a taco salad? Do you crunch up the taco bowl, eat everything out of it and then eat the taco bowl?

– Traci in Amsterdam

Dear Traci: There are no rules of etiquette governing how to eat a taco salad. However, when I order one, I usually eat the contents of the bowl, then chip off pieces of the tortilla if I still have enough room to nibble. I have also seen diners order the salad and ask that it be served on a salad plate (“Hold the taco!”) in order to save a few calories.