Most Addicts Get Pills From Pals Doctors only give pills to 1 in 5 abusers: Study By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Jun 21, 2011 2:35 PM CDT 8 comments Comments Most people get their pills from friends. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Looks like Michael Jackson was the exception to the rule. Most painkiller addicts get their pills from family or friends rather than doctors, according to a new study. Just 1 in 5 abusers use their doctor as their primary source for their drugs, and 69% get their drugs exclusively from non-medical sources, the study found, according to Time. Among those aged 18-to-25, that figure jumps to 77%. The findings are in line with previous studies, which found that less than 3% of abusers become addicted after being legitimately prescribed the drugs. Yet prevention initiatives for painkiller abuse have focused almost exclusively on tracking patients' medical records and trying to get doctors to write fewer prescriptions for opioids.