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Data: Opioid Prescribing Rates by Congressional District, United States, 2016. Note: The prescription rates are from 2016, but the map reflects the current representatives of the district. In Ohio’s 12th district, Troy Balderson is listed as the representative, but the race is currently too close to call. Correction: This map has been updated to use the previous district boundaries for Pennsylvania, before redistricting. A previous version of this map used the 2018 election district boundaries. Map: Kerrie Vila/Axios

The areas most flooded with prescription opioids are mostly represented by Republicans. The opioid crisis has taken a steep toll nationwide, but the South and Appalachia are particularly inundated with highly addictive prescription painkillers.

What's next: The House passed roughly 60 opioid-related bills in June; a timeline for getting a full package all the way to President Trump's desk is not yet clear. The administration — most notably the Food and Drug Administration — has also embraced new steps to help combat the addiction epidemic.

Between the lines: This is an association, not necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship. The abuse of prescription painkillers is worst in the South and Appalachia, which are predominantly represented by Republicans.

  • And it's often worse in rural areas than in major cities — note how much the Atlanta area stands out from the rest of the Deep South for its comparatively low levels of opioids per capita.

The big picture: Members of Congress from those districts are likely to hear about the opioid epidemic during their re-election campaigns, even if they're not in competitive races — which heightens the urgency of getting the legislation to Trump's desk.

  • A CBS News poll in May found that nearly eight out of 10 Americans want the federal government to do more to address it.

Prescription opioids are the main target of the federal response so far. The House's package includes bills to change the way some prescription drugs are packaged and how patients return unused drugs.

  • But the epidemic has spread well beyond prescription drugs: Fentanyl and heroin are now associated with more overdoses than prescription drugs.

The big picture: Experts say Congress' efforts are a worthwhile start, but that the main thing Washington needs to do is come up with a lot more money for addiction treatment programs.

  • Public-health experts have praised the FDA for embracing medication-assisted therapy — products like methadone that help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal so people are less likely to return to more dangerous and addictive illicit drugs.

Go deeper

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 11,691,068 — Total deaths: 540,062 — Total recoveries — 6,349,542Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 2,963,244 — Total deaths: 130,813 — Total recoveries: 924,148 — Total tested: 36,225,015Map.
  3. 2020: Biden releases plan to strengthen coronavirus supply chain.
  4. Congress: Trump administration notifies Congress of intent to withdraw from WHO.
  5. Public health: Fauci says it's a "false narrative" to take comfort in lower coronavirus death rate.
  6. World: Brazil's President Bolsonaro tests positive— India reports third-highest case count in the world.
28 mins ago - Health

Fauci: "False narrative" to take comfort in lower coronavirus death rate

Anthony Fauci testifies in Washington, D.C., on June 30. Photo: Al Drago/AFP via Getty Images

Anthony Fauci said at an event with Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) on Tuesday "that it's a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death" from the coronavirus in the U.S., warning: "There’s so many other things that are dangerous and bad about the virus. Don’t get into false complacency."

The big picture: The mean age of Americans currently being infected by the virus has declined by 15 years compared to where it stood several months ago. This has been one contributing factor in the lower death rate the U.S. has experienced during the recent surge in cases, since "the younger you are, the better you do, and the less likely you're gonna get seriously ill and die," Fauci said.

Trump administration notifies Congress of intent to withdraw from WHO

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Twitter Tuesday that the Trump administration has informed Congress that the United States is officially beginning the process of withdrawing from the World Health Organization.

Why it matters: President Trump's decision to formally withdraw from the UN's global health agency — which will take effect on July 6, 2021 — comes as the pandemic continues to accelerate both in the U.S. and around the world.