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Vials of heroin and fentanyl. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Reducing prescription opioid misuse will only moderately lower the number of opioid overdose deaths over the next few years, a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found.

By the numbers: The study projected that under the status quo, opioid overdose deaths would rise from 33,100 in 2015 to 81,700 in 2025. Between 2016 and 2025, 700,400 people will die from an opioid overdose, it estimates, and 80% of these deaths will be attributable to illicit opioids.

  • Lowering the amount of prescription opioid misuse from 2015 levels would only decrease overdose deaths by 3–5.3%, it found.

My thought bubble: As depressing as this is, it checks out. The opioid epidemic has evolved from being mostly about prescription opioids to being driven by heroin and fentanyl, which are much more potent than drugs like OxyContin.

  • While policy interventions like prescription drug monitoring programs are still important, we have to do vastly more than that to make a sizable dent in the opioid death rate.

Go deeper ... The border's deadliest threat: opioids

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

What we know about the victims of the Indianapolis mass shooting

Leaders of the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis participate in an interview addressing their grief. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Law enforcement in Indianapolis have identified the eight people killed in Thursday's shooting at a FedEx facility.

The big picture: The Sikh Coalition said at least four of the eight victims were members of the Indianapolis Sikh community.

4 hours ago - Health

The health care system collects the effects of racism

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A person without stable housing doesn't have a place to keep insulin cold. A person without a car may not be able to get to the doctor until it's an emergency. A low-wage worker is less likely to have health insurance, and therefore more likely to skimp on care they might need.

The big picture: The American health care system delivers far better results for white patients than it does for people of color, and those health disparities are in large part a reflection of broader social and economic inequality.