Join Times staff writer Lisa Girion for an online chat at 12:30 p.m. on how doctors are fueling the nation's prescription drug epidemic.
A new government study found that doctors now represent the primary source of narcotic painkillers for chronic abusers. It challenges the belief held by many, and that has long guided policymakers, that abusers have fueled the epidemic by getting their drugs without prescriptions.
The study was published Monday by the Journal of the American Medical Assn. and followed in the steps of a 2012 Times investigation that found drugs prescribed by doctors caused or contributed to nearly half of the prescription overdose deaths in Southern California over recent years.
Prescription drugs contribute to more than 16,000 fatal overdoses each year.
During Tuesday's chat at 12:30 p.m., Girion will be able to answer readers' questions and comments about a variety of issues surrounding the topic of prescription drugs and this latest study.
To ask a question or submit a comment, Tweet @aribloomekatz, or you submit them directly on the chat interface on the L.A. Times homepage when the discussion begins.
<a href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=27741d4f7f">L.A. Now Live: A chat with the Times newsroom</a>