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DEAR READERS: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday. Studies have shown that the family medicine cabinet can contribute to addiction. Friends and family members can obtain these drugs if they are not properly disposed of.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is an opportunity to dispose of unused and old medicine. The drugs are collected year-r o u n d , b u t having a dedicated day? This brings more attention to the problem.

Visit takebackday.dea.gov to find a collection site in your neighborhood, and for complete instructions.

P.S. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (dea.gov) has collected almost 11 million pounds of unused prescription drugs since 2010!

DEAR READERS: Do you only buy clothes brand new? Mixing secondhand pieces into your workday, dressy and casual wardrobes is a new friendly trend.

Swap clothing items you no longer wear for things you can find at the thrift shop: vintage blouses, T-shirts and top designer brands.

And with prom season here, the secondhand store is a great place to find a glamorous gown.

DEAR HELOISE: We love cream cheese at my house. What’s the best way to soften cream cheese if it’s straight from the fridge?

— Maren R. in Kentucky

DEAR READER: Warming cream cheese at room temperature is best for its consistency and flavor, but in a pinch, you can remove the cream cheese from the package (the wrapper may be foil, which can’t go in the microwave) and place in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high in 10-second increments until you achieve the desired softness.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a hint to provide vegan foods at a party: Using a slow cooker, make large quantities of vegan main dishes in advance and freeze. Then it’s simple to warm up and serve along with your regular meals.

Add a salad and fruit for dessert, and you are there. Tofu is good to have on hand, as well as various beans, nuts, vegetable broth, mushrooms and fresh, frozen or canned veggies. You might ask your vegan guests for a list of foods they like.

— Anne T.,

Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Heloise@Heloise.com

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS

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