Study finds many cancer survivors dealing opioid dependency

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Prescription painkillers should not be a first-choice for treating common ailments like back pain and arthritis, according to new federal guidelines designed to reshape how doctors prescribe drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin. Amid an epidemic of addiction and abuse tied to these powerful opioids drugs, the CDC is urging general doctors to try physical therapy, exercise and over-the-counter pain medications before turning to painkillers for chronic pain. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

(ABC News) — As if cancer was not enough, many survivors may find themselves dealing with opioid dependency, sometimes years after treatment.

This news is according to a new study out of Canada.

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Researchers looked at more than 8,000 adult cancer survivors and found they were more likely to use, and potentially abuse, opioid prescriptions.

These drugs, in the same class as heroin, are often prescribed for paint during treatment.

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As for exactly why survivors tend to continue to use opioid prescriptions, this study can’t tell us. However, it’s a reminder that if you or a loved one is a cancer survivor and takes painkillers, talk to your doctor. Explore whether your regimen is appropriate and if other pain management approaches might be right for you.

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