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Painkiller abuse begins with doctors, study concludes

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LOS ANGELES — Doctors are fueling the nation’s prescription drug epidemic and represent the primary source of narcotic painkillers for chronic abusers, according to a new government study.

The finding challenges a widely held belief that has long guided policymakers: that the epidemic is caused largely by abusers getting their drugs without prescriptions, typically from friends and family.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the study, said the research showed the need…

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