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Chris Post / AP

Opioid overdose deaths have increased more than six-fold since the 1970s, and an estimated 2.5 million Americans abuse this class of drugs. But the deadliest killer is not heroin. Synthetic opioids, which can kill much faster than heroin, have fueled the epidemic. Here's what they are:

  • "Grey death": The newest street drug is a dangerous opioid cocktail that is 5,000 times as potent as heroin (CNN)
  • Carfentanil: This elephant tranquilizer is as powerful as "grey death" (National Affairs)
  • Fentanyl: The most commonly found synthetic opioid is 50 times as deadly as heroin (National Affairs)
  • Furanyl fentanyl: This version of fentanyl is 10 times as potent as heroin (USA Today)
  • U-47700: This research chemical, still legally available, is eight times as potent as heroin (NBC)

FiveThirtyEight noted that available data on drug abuse, which would help policymakers and researchers combat the drug epidemic, has dropped drastically, potentially making the problem worse.

Go deeper

47 mins ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in U.K.

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.