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Senators target physicians, drug manufacturers in opioid bill

WASHINGTON  A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday introduced legislation that would waive limits on physicians treating addiction patients and place restrictions on how long a provider could initially prescribe opioids to patients.

The bill, known as CARA 2.0, would address the opioid epidemic from several angles, including both health care providers and drugmakers. It aims to build on earlier opioid legislation, which cleared in 2016 as part of a broader health care measure that included mental health changes and aimed to spur new medical treatments.

The measure comes as Republicans in Congress and the White House are focusing this week on a push toward tackling the crisis.

The measure would impose a three-day limit on initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain, in line with what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended. There would be exceptions for chronic pain or pain for other ongoing illnesses. The bill would allow states to waive the number of patients that a physician can treat with buprenorphine, a drug to treat addiction to narcotics, since physicians are currently capped at 100 patients.

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