US to raise cap for docs prescribing opioid addiction drug

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is increasing the number of patients whom doctors can treat for opioid addiction with a medication called buprenorphine.

The cap is being raised from 100 patients per doctor to 275 as the White House tries to pressure Congress to approve funds for opioid abuse treatment. Doctors seeking the higher cap will have to apply.

The modest step being announced Wednesday comes the same day that House-Senate bargainers plan to meet to finalize a compromise package on drug abuse. Both parties have prioritized the issue, but Democratic negotiators are threatening to withhold support unless Republicans agree to add $920 million to finance some programs. The current compromise contains no money.

The White House won’t say whether President Barack Obama would sign it if the funds aren’t added.

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