National briefs: Feds setting drug limits

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WASHINGTON — The federal government is finalizing new restrictions on hundreds of medicines containing hydrocodone, the highly addictive painkiller that has grown into the most widely prescribed drug in the U.S.

The new rules mean that drugs like Vicodin, Lortab and their generic equivalents will be subject to the same prescribing rules as painkillers like codeine and oxycodone.

Patients will be limited to one 90-day supply of medication and will have to see a health care professional to get a refill.

In many states, only doctors will be able to prescribe the medications, not nurses or physician assistants.

The new restrictions will go into effect in 45 days, according to a federal listing scheduled for publication today.

Boston bombing plea

BOSTON — A college friend of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, who was charged last year with hindering the investigation into blasts at the finish line of the race, is changing his plea to guilty, his lawyer said.

Dias Kadyrbayev, 20, was to go to trial on Sept. 8 on one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of obstruction of justice, but instead pleaded guilty before Judge Douglas P. Woodlock at Boston’s U.S. District Court on Thursday.

Stop-and-frisk

WASHINGTON — In 2002, when Michael Bloomberg first took office as mayor of New York City, the controversial law enforcement policy known as “stop-and-frisk” led to 97,296 encounters on the city’s streets. Police stopped — and sometimes frisked — pedestrians on any number of suspicious grounds.

A New York Civil Liberties Union report released Wednesday is conducting a comprehensive account of stop-and-frisk during the Bloomberg years.

During the mayor’s 12-year tenure, police department data show that officers made more than 5 million stops, a quarter of them of young black men who made up just 1.9 percent of the city’s population.

Judge voids Fla. ban

MIAMI — A federal judge on Thursday ruled Florida’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional and ordered the state to recognize marriages legally performed elsewhere. U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, however, immediately stayed his order until after the appeals process is completed.

Judge Hinkle’s ruling comes after 22 individuals, including nine married couples, sued Florida to recognize their marriages or grant them marriage licenses.

Confederate flag bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A bill prohibiting California from displaying or selling merchandise with the Confederate flag is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, after getting final legislative approval in the Assembly on Thursday.

The bill, AB 2444, prohibits the state from displaying or selling merchandise emblazoned with the Confederate flag.

The bill passed the Assembly on a bipartisan 66-1 vote.

Holiday travel rises

NEW YORK — The most Americans in six years will travel by car over the Labor Day holiday weekend, and they’ll be paying the least for gasoline since 2010 as refineries produce ample amounts of the fuel, AAA predicts.

About 29.7 million people plan to drive 50 miles or more from home during the five days ending Sept. 1, up from 29.3 million last year and the most since 2008, Florida-based AAA, the biggest U.S. motoring organization, said in a statement.


— Compiled from news services


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