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Jacquelyn Martin / AP

The CDC says American doctors have curbed their opioid prescription rate by 18% from 2010 to 2015, but are still prescribing three times as many opioids as their European counterparts, per NPR.

"We are still massively overprescribing," Andrew Kolodny, an addiction specialist at Brandeis University, told NPR. And the average length of prescriptions has risen from 13 to 18 days between 2010 and 2015. Longer periods of use increase chances of addiction.

Why it matters:

Prescription opioids kill tens of thousands each year from overdoses, and they often lead to dependence on

more deadly opioids

such as heroin and fentanyl. Still, U.S. doctors hand out

over 650,000 opioid prescriptions

daily.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.