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Doctor warns parents to lock up medication to prevent theft by teens

VANCOUVER — A doctor who treats chronic substance users says teenagers who steal prescription medication from their family's medicine cabinet may be at risk of becoming addicted to drugs.

Dr. William Barakett says parents need to lock up their drugs, return unused medication to a pharmacy and ensure their kids aren't using drugs to mask an emotional disorder.

Barakett, an advisory council member for Drug Free Kids Canada, says parents should also take a ``good hard look'' at whether there's a family history of addiction.

He recently testified before a House of Commons committee hearing on marijuana and says many of his patients began smoking pot as kids before taking their family's medication and seeking opioids elsewhere.

Mike Serr, chairman of the drug advisory committee for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, says parents often don't notice when one or two pills are missing, especially if a drug is taken occasionally.

Serr, who is deputy chief of the Abbotsford Police Department, says a mother who spoke at a public forum on fentanyl in the Fraser Valley city warned other parents that her son became addicted to opioids after stealing her medication.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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