Ontario will lead a national probe into the misuse of the painkiller OxyContin, a prescription narcotic frequently doled out by doctors that can lead to severe addiction and death.

OxyContin prescriptions paid for by Ontario’s public drug plan were found to have tripled in five years, making it one of the most popular drugs.

Last year, $54 million of the drug was prescribed, the majority to people on social assistance.

The Toronto Star found that addiction rates are soaring in the province and an estimated 464 deaths in five years have been blamed on oxycodone, the drug contained in the popular pain killers.