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Associated Press

The National Institutes of Health on Wednesday announced a joint initiative with pharmaceutical companies to spur the development of drugs to address the opioid epidemic. It will start with a series of private workshops over the next six weeks and focus on three areas:

  • Developing interventions for reversing overdoses, including stronger, longer-lasting medicines to counteract synthetic opioids and, in the long-term, potentially wearable devices that sense an overdose and automatically inject naloxone.
  • New treatments for opioid addiction. The NIH is investigating new medications, beyond the three currently available, repurposing and reformulating approved drugs (like lorcaserin), and even vaccines that would spur the production of antibodies against opioids and prevent them from entering the brain.
  • Non-addictive treatments for chronic pain. The NIH plans to target two separate pain-signaling pathways in hopes of developing an alternative to synthetic opioid medications. They are also researching compounds that target other opioid receptors and ways to formulate drugs so they can't be snorted or injected.

Go deeper

Biden to sign voting rights order to mark "Bloody Sunday" anniversary

President Biden will sign an executive order today, on the 56th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," meant to promote voting rights, according to an administration official.

Why it matters: The executive order comes as Democrats face an uphill battle to pass a sweeping election bill meant, in part, to combat a growing number of proposals introduced by Republicans at the state level that would restrict voter access.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: Pope Francis spreads message of peace on first trip to Iraq

Pope Francis waving as he arrives near the ruins of the Syriac Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception (al-Tahira-l-Kubra), in the old city of Iraq's northern Mosul on March 7. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis was on Sunday visiting areas of northern Iraq once held by Islamic State militants.

Why it matters: This is the first-ever papal trip to Iraq. The purpose of Francis' four-day visit is largely intended to reassure the country's Christian minority, who were violently persecuted by ISIS, which controlled the region from 2014-2017.

Cuomo faces fresh misconduct allegations from former aides

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February press conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was on Saturday facing fresh accusations of misconduct against his staff, including further allegations of inappropriate behavior against two more women. His office denies the claims.

Driving the news: The Washington Post reported Cuomo allegedly embraced an aide when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that two male staffers who worked for him in the governor's office accused him of routinely berating them "with explicit language."

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