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Government Expands Access to Drug Used to Treat Opioid Dependence

The federal government Wednesday nearly tripled, to 275, the number of patients to which an authorized doctor can prescribe a drug that helps patients control their dependence on painkillers and heroin.

The move was part of several announced by the Obama administration as part of an effort to stem the opioid abuse epidemic that is killing nearly 80 people from overdoses every day, a total of 28,647 annually in the United States.

The administration also renewed its call on Congress to approve a $1.1 billion budget request to combat that epidemic.

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