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Dear Abby: I’m 21, and my 16-year-old sister is out of control. She told me she smokes marijuana, drinks alcohol, abuses painkillers and recently mentioned she does coke.

Abby, she is beautiful, and I don’t want to see her do this to herself. She’s living with me about an hour away from my parents because Dad is an alcoholic and he abuses our mother.

I brought my sister here to get her away from all that because I know what it was like growing up there. I’m having trouble giving her advice to stay away from those things because I did them, and I feel like a hypocrite. My parents can’t get through to her, either. Please help.

– Trying To Be A Big Sis

Dear Trying: You’re lucky you were able to straighten out without becoming addicted to any of the substances you experimented with, but your sister may not be so lucky. Because she’s out of control, you MUST step in and put a stop to it for her sake.

Your sister needs counseling, and if she is going to remain your responsibility, it is imperative that you assert control.

Talk to her school counselor about getting her the help she needs. You may have to drug-test your sister on a random basis as a condition of her continuing to live with you. Kits are available at your pharmacy. Stop feeling guilty, stay strong, and you may be able to steer your sister back on the right path.

What’s the ‘white pants’ rule?

Dear Abby: The “rule” that white pants can be worn only from Memorial Day to Labor Day needs to be amended. I love my white pants. They go with nearly everything, and I almost cry when they must be stored away for another nine months. Ridiculous!

My proposal would be to extend the grace period so it begins on Easter Sunday and lasts until Halloween. How does that sound?

– Marilyn in San Marcos, Calif.

Dear Marilyn: You will be delighted to know that according to “Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition,” that old rule about wearing white no longer applies. What’s important isn’t the color, but the weight of the fabric.

Here in Southern California, summer can start late and continue through October. Lightweight fabrics such as cotton and linen are acceptable during hot weather, and when the temperature drops, “winter whites” in wool, corduroy, silk and satin are common, although usually in off-white shades rather than a stark one.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.