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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Small number of doctor shoppers have big impact

They make up a very small percentage of people filling prescriptions but the amount of opioids they buy, feeding their own addiction or others’, is alarming.

“Doctor shoppers,” or people who visit multiple physicians’ offices and pharmacies soliciting the highly-addictive drugs, accounted for about 7 of every 1,000 people who filled a prescription for narcotic painkillers in 2008. But they purchased nearly 4 percent sold that year, according to a study by Cambridge researchers published Wednesday evening on PLOS ONE.

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