Colorado’s Medicaid program is reducing opioid dosages |

Colorado’s Medicaid program is reducing opioid dosages

Colorado's Medicaid program is reducing the amount of opioid painkillers it allows its recipients to receive, part of a growing campaign to restrict how many of the highly addictive drugs are in circulation.

The new policy, announced this month, will roll out in two phases. The first, which goes into place in August, applies to Medicaid recipients who are prescribed opioids for the first time in at least a year. The policy will limit those patients to receiving only a seven-day supply to start, with two additional one-week refills possible if the patient requests them. Another refill request beyond that will require additional scrutiny.

Dr. Judy Zerzan, the chief medical officer for Colorado's Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which administers Medicaid in the state, said the goal of this first phase is to prevent new patients from becoming hooked on pain pills.

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