Friends common source of abused prescription meds

CHICAGO (AP) — A new study says most people who abuse addictive prescription painkillers get them for free from friends or relatives.

It also says drug dealers are a relatively uncommon source for those at highest risk for deadly overdoses.

People who abuse the most frequently often doctor-shop; more than 1 in 4 who used these drugs almost daily said they had been prescribed by one or more physicians. Almost as many said they got them for free from friends or relatives; only 15 percent said they bought the drugs from dealers or other strangers.

The study is from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers who analyzed national health surveys.

Two-thirds of abusers said they used the drugs infrequently.

The study was published online Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.