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.

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Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.

Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the coronavirus are progressing and may provide some relief before vaccines.

The big picture: Everyone wants to know how and when they can return to "normal" life, as vaccines are not expected to be ready for most Americans for at least a year. Two therapies are known to be helpful, and more could be announced by late September, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.