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Obama to announce new drug policies in Charleston

Charleston Gazette-Mail file photo by The Associated Press
Charleston Gazette-Mail file photo by The Associated PresszCHARLESTON, W.Va. — In conjunction with his trip to Charleston, President Barack Obama will announce new steps to help stem the flow of prescription painkillers and ease the path to treatment for people fighting opioid addiction.

Obama will issue a memorandum this morning to federal departments and agencies with two directives:

• The president will require federal agencies to provide training to doctors and nurses who work for the federal government on how to properly prescribe opioid medications, like oxycodone.

• Federal agencies that provide health insurance will have to review their health plans to see if there are barriers or restrictions that prevent patients from accessing medication-assisted treatments for opioid abuse, like Suboxone. If there are restrictions preventing people from getting those treatments, agencies will have to address those.

The directives apply only to federal agencies — not private doctors or insurance plans — but the White House wants to set an example…

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