According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, most people in the United States who are addicted to prescription drugs receive the drugs from doctors or friends and relatives for free and not from drug dealers.
Over 25 percent of people who abused painkillers daily said that they had received the pills from one or more physicians, a practice commonly called “doctor shopping.” Roughly the same amount of people reported that they received painkillers from their friends and family, and got the drugs for free.
15 percent of frequent prescription drug abusers stated that they bought the pills on the black market.
Around 12 million people in the United States used a prescription opioid painkiller such as OxyContin or Vicodin each year.
Source: Lindsey Tanner, “Friends common source of abused prescription meds,” Associated Press, March 3, 2014.