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

Go deeper

12 hours ago - Health

15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 11,143,945 — Total deaths: 527,681 — Total recoveries — 6,004,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 2,818,588 — Total deaths: 129,584 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.
13 hours ago - Health

In photos: America celebrates July 4 during global pandemic

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The U.S. has already celebrated Easter, graduations and so much more during the coronavirus pandemic, and now it can add July 4 to the list.

The state of play: Axios' Stef Kight writes public parades and fireworks displays around much of the country are being canceled to prevent mass gatherings where the virus could spread. Hot-dog contests and concerts will play to empty stands and virtual audiences — all while American pride treads an all-time low.