Aug 15, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: President Trump has revoked former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, the White House announced today.

  • He's considering the same for James Comey, James Clapper, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.
1 big thing: 72,000 dead Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Drug overdoses killed a record 72,000 Americans last year, driven by a surge in synthetic opioids.

The big picture: "The dominant factor is the changing drug supply," epidemiologist Brandon Marshall told the N.Y. Times' Margot Sanger-Katz. The synthetic opioid fentanyl is increasingly found mixed with other drugs, and its potency is a factor in the uptick in overdoses.

Between the lines:

  • States are turning to medical marijuana as an opioid substitute, including efforts in New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
  • Police are shifting their focus to help addicts, including carrying overdose reversers in cruisers and allowing users to turn in their drugs without facing arrest.
  • National efforts to curb the crisis will take time: “Because of the forces of stigma, the population is reluctant to seek care. I wouldn’t expect a rapid downturn; I would expect a slow, smooth downturn," professor Dan Ciccarone told the Times.

The bottom line: Ending this epidemic is a bipartisan issue, and the supply of prescription opioids is falling nationwide. But our fellow Americans are dying, and we can't look away.

Go deeper: The congressional districts with the most opioids per person

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

People take photos and videos with their mobile phones as Aerosmith performs on NBC's 'Today' show at Rockefeller Center today in New York City.

2. What you missed
  1. Uber's losses are widening again, reporting a $891 million loss on a GAAP basis after turning a first quarter profit thanks to the sales of its Russia and Southeast Asia units. Go deeper.
  2. Reality checks on Omarosa book: We've catalogued the most notable challenges to the former Trump staffer's salacious stories in her new book. Go deeper.
  3. Heat on Elon: The SEC wants information from electric automaker Tesla about its take-private plan and CEO Elon Musk's unverified claim that he has "funding secured," according to a tweet from Fox Business's Charlie Gasparino.
  4. Trouble in Sinclair-land: Sinclair Broadcasting’s failed effort to buy Tribune Media may soon become more than just a costly embarrassment. It could result in the company ultimately losing its broadcast licenses. Go deeper.
  5. Twitter talks InfoWars: CEO Jack Dorsey doesn't know whether the social media platform's 7-day suspension of far-right talk-show host Alex Jones would "impact and change” Jones' behavior. Go deeper.
  6. Bonus: Axios video on recycling... New regulations from the Chinese government are limiting how much recycling the U.S. can send them. That’s creating financial challenges, especially for local communities who are starting to see the consequences in their own backyards. Watch the video.
3. 1 fun thing

"I watched Nicolas Cage movies for 14 hours straight, and I'm sold" — The Guardian's Luke Buckmaster walked out thinking Nic Cage is a bizarre genius of acting:

"In Cage’s hands, cartoonish moments are imbued with real emotion and real emotions become cartoons. Everything – from individual scenes down to single lines of dialogue – feel like they have been embraced as opportunities for creation. Cage is usually interesting even when his films are not. He is erratic and unpredictable; he is captivating and he is capricious. He is a performer. He is a troubadour. He is a jazz musician."
Mike Allen