BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a nationwide epidemic. Prescription drug abuse is responsible for a growing number of deaths. Now a new study out of Johns Hopkins shows that doctors are taking steps to try and fight painkiller overdoses.

Meghan McCorkell has more on what they’re doing.

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Nearly half the doctors surveyed say they are now less likely to prescribe powerful painkillers because they’re concerned about addiction.

A Baltimore County clinic was busted by the DEA, accused of prescribing 1.4 million Oxycodone pills in just one year. It’s places like this, experts say, feed an addiction that can have devastating effects.

“I lost my home, my car. I had no job. I had nothing,” said one.

Now a new study from Johns Hopkins says doctors are cutting back on prescribing painkillers known as opioids.

“Clinicians may finally be decreasing their over-reliance on these products,” said Johns Hopkins researcher Dr. Caleb Alexander.

The study found 85% of doctors surveyed believe opioids are overused. Fifty-five percent say they are very concerned about addiction and a whopping 90% believe prescription drug abuse is a big or moderate problem in their community.

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According to the CDC, in 2012, more than 22,000 people in the US died of a prescription drug overdose. More than 70% were linked to painkillers.

“We’ve seen overdose deaths increase over the past two years,” said Greg Warren.

Warren, regional director of Gaudenzia Drug Treatment Center in Baltimore, says he doesn’t think doctors are being more cautious about painkillers.

“Physicians prescribing narcotics, I believe, has grown dramatically over the past year and I think it will continue to grow for the foreseeable future,” Warren said.

He worries that without cutting off the supply, we could see addiction rates rise even more.

Prescription drug abuse is considered the fastest growing drug problem in the US.

Researchers say they hope the study influences doctors to prescribe less addictive treatments.

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