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Doctors are key source of narcotics for riskiest users, study says

Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2014

Doctors are fueling the epidemic of prescription drug addiction and overdose and represent the single largest supplier of these drugs to chronic abusers, according to a government study published Monday. The finding challenges the conventional wisdom that the epidemic is caused primarily by abusers getting their drugs without prescriptions, typically from friends and family. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview that the study shows the need to focus more on doctors who are "problem prescribers." The study, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Assn., echoes a 2012 Los Angeles Times investigation that showed drugs prescribed by doctors caused or contributed to nearly half of the prescription overdose deaths in Southern California in recent years.