Toby Talbot / AP

In the wake of the dangerous opioid epidemic that is currently plaguing the United States, some doctors have decided to forgo prescribing opioids and are instead turning to long-established drugs like Novocain and ibuprofen to perform surgeries, Bloomberg reports. They're also increasingly advising patients to seek massage and mediation treatments to supplement pain medication.

"Opioids are being shunned," said Lynn Webster, an anesthesiologist and vice president at PRA Health Sciences Inc. "Physicians are avoiding prescribing them for fear of losing their licenses."

Their reasoning: Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, and the numbers are expected to worsen in 2017, according to the NY Times. Meanwhile, doctors are still writing hundreds of millions opioid prescriptions every year. This leaves doctors vulnerable to malpractice and other criminal charges. The alternative drug push is key to protecting doctors from losing their licenses, and patients from getting hooked.

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34 mins ago - World

Countries waiting to see if Trump wins before moving on Israel normalization

The delegation lands at Israel's Ben Gurion airport. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty

The White House is attempting to leverage momentum from Israel's normalization deals with Bahrain and the UAE to get more Arab countries on board before the U.S. election.

Driving the news: President Trump wants Sudan's removal from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list to be accompanied by a pre-election announcement on Israel.

Poll: 92% of battleground state voters are "extremely motivated to vote"

Voters stand in line at the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in Houston, Texas, on Oct. 13. Photo: Mark Felix for The Washington Post via Getty Images

91% of likely voters nationally say they are "extremely motivated to vote," including 92% in battleground states Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to a Change Research/CNBC Poll.

Why it matters: The 2020 election could see record-breaking levels of voter turnout. Voters last week cast ballots at nearly five times the rate they did at this point in the 2016 election, per the U.S. Elections Project. Over 39 million ballots have been cast in early voting states as of Wednesday.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to plead guilty to 3 criminal charges

Members of P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) and Truth Pharm staged a rally and die-in last year outside New Yorks Southern District Federal Court in White Plains, where Purdue Pharmaceuticals' bankruptcy hearing was being held. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges Wednesday as part of a more than $8 billion settlement with the Justice Department, AP reports.

Why it matters: "The settlement is the highest-profile display yet of the federal government seeking to hold a major drugmaker responsible for an opioid addiction and overdose crisis linked to more than 470,000 deaths in the country since 2000," AP notes.