You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Metro

Blue Cross cuts back on painkiller prescriptions

An 18-month effort targets opiate abuse

The state’s largest health insurer has cut prescriptions of narcotic painkillers by an estimated 6.6 million pills in 18 months as part of a campaign to curb abuse of the powerful drugs, according to executives from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

That estimated reduction appears to bolster the argument made by many health workers that these narcotics have been overprescribed and too easy to obtain. The drugs are cited as a gateway to heroin, which has plagued the state recently amid a startling succession of overdoses and deaths.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week