Photo: AP

The key to the federal government’s efforts to rein in alarming rates of opioid abuse is getting doctors to think twice before prescribing powerful painkillers. A new study indicates that at least one measure the government has taken to try to reduce opioid prescriptions has fallen flat.

In the study, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent letters informing 1,525 doctors that they were prescribing opioids far more frequently than average. The typical doctor contacted was prescribing four times as many Schedule II controlled substances as the average doctor. 

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