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

How "naked ballots" could upend mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

Trump signs in Olyphant, Penn. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

Commission releases topics for first presidential debate

Moderator Chris Wallace. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has selected what topics he'll cover while moderating the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden next week.

What to watch: Topics for the Sept. 29 debate will include Trump and Biden's records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economic policy, racism and the integrity of the election, the Commission for Presidential Debates announced on Tuesday. Each topic will receive 15 minutes of conversation and will be presented in no particular order.

Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jay Powell bump elbows before House hearing on Tuesday. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

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