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Although he was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate, the new chief of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Robert Califf, clearly heard the message from the handful of senators who wanted to block his confirmation based on his association with an agency that they say has been complicit in America’s opioid epidemic.

In remarks Tuesday, Califf promised to work hard to make painkillers less addictive and to put warning labels on drugs. Recently, some opioid medications have been designed in ways to make them harder to snort or inject.

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