Feds clarify change on opioid meds for government workers

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is clarifying a policy change that will limit the prescribing of opioid painkillers to federal workers.

The Labor Department issued a statement Tuesday saying the limitations will apply to employees injured on the job and covered under the government’s workers’ compensation program.

Last week at a White House briefing a senior administration official suggested the change would apply to the federal health plan, which is a much bigger program.

Beginning this fall, workers injured on the job will be limited to an initial seven-day supply of opioid painkillers, with a maximum of three refills. Additional prescriptions beyond the first 28 days will require medical certification.

Painkillers prescribed as part of medical care unwittingly became a gateway for some people caught up in the nation’s opioid epidemic.

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