Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Senate's opioids bill is inching closer to coming together, advancing the congressional effort to address the epidemic that is rapidly changing from being a prescription problem to an illegal drug problem.

Driving the news: Opioid prescriptions decreased 16% in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, according to a new Food and Drug Administration analysis.

  • That suggests efforts to slow overprescribing have been effective.
  • But as heroin and fentanyl overdoses rise, the epidemic will demand an evolving response. 

By the numbers:

  • In the first half of 2018, 74.1 metric tons of oral morphine equivalents (a way to measure opioids) was dispensed in retail outpatient settings, a 16% drop from the year before. 
  • In 2017, 88.8 metric tons of opioids were dispensed, a 10.4% decrease from 2016. 

Between the lines: The Senate bill will likely address all sides of the epidemic but still primarily be focused on the problems of overprescribing and prescription opioid misuse. 

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday all Republican issues with the opioids bill had been resolved, but there was a snag among the Democrats.

The other side: Reducing opioid prescriptions isn't always a good thing, and addressing the opioid epidemic has backfired for some patients who need chronic pain treatment, Politico reports

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Misinformation thrives on social media ahead of presidential debate

Joe Biden speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, on Sept. 27. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

A baseless conspiracy theory that Joe Biden would wear an electronic device in his ear during the first presidential debate on Tuesday went viral on social media hours before the event.

Why it matters: The conspiracy originated on social media before appearing in a text message sent by President Trump’s re-election campaign to supporters. It was then regurgitated by media outlets like Fox News and New York Post, who cited the Trump campaign, throughout the day, according to NBC News.

Appeals court upholds six-day extension for counting Wisconsin ballots

Photo: Derek R. Henkle/AFP via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that extended the deadline for counting mail-in ballots in Wisconsin until Nov. 9 as long as they are postmarked by the Nov. 3 election, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's a big win for Democrats that also means that the winner of Wisconsin, a key presidential swing state, may not be known for six days after the election. Republicans are likely to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, as the Pennsylvania GOP did after a similar ruling on Monday.

Go deeper: How the Supreme Court could decide the election

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 33,489,205 — Total deaths: 1,004,278 — Total recoveries: 23,243,613Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m ET: 7,183,367 — Total deaths: 205,883 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  5. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  6. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  7. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic