Aug 16, 2018

Justice Department cracks down on opioid manufacturing

President Donald Trump signs a bipartisan bill to stop the flow of opioids into the United States in the Oval Office of the White House on January 10, 2018. Photo: Ron Sachs-Pool via Getty Images

"The Department of Justice and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have proposed a reduction for controlled substances that may be manufactured in the U.S. next year," according to a forthcoming release provided to Axios.

The details: "Consistent with President Trump’s 'Safe Prescribing Plan' that seeks to 'cut nationwide opioid prescription fills by one-third within three years,' the proposal decreases manufacturing quotas for the six most frequently misused opioids for 2019 by an average ten percent as compared to the 2018 amount."

  • "The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) marks the third straight year of proposed reductions, which help reduce the amount of drugs potentially diverted for trafficking and used to facilitate addiction."
  • "Ultimately, revised limits will encourage vigilance on the part of opioid manufacturers, help DEA respond to the changing drug threat environment, and protect the American people from potential addictive drugs while ensuring that the country has enough opioids for legitimate medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs."

Yes, but: The biggest problem is still synthetic opioids like fentanyl, writes Axios health care editor Sam Baker.

  • Roughly 30,000 people fatally overdosed on synthetic opioids last year — about the same number as heroin and prescription opioids combined. (Some people are counted multiple times because multiple drugs were in their systems when they died.)

Fentanyl’s risks are threefold: It’s easy to make and ship; it’s incredibly potent; and it shows up in different places, at different strengths.

  • That might help explain why overdose deaths are becoming more diverse.
  • “In some places, the type of synthetic drugs mixed into heroin changes often,” the New York Times notes. “The penetration of fentanyl into more heroin markets may explain recent increases in overdose deaths among older, urban black Americans; those who used heroin before the recent changes to the drug supply might be unprepared for the strength of the new mixtures.”

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 9,600

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,600 in the U.S. Sunday night, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 14 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 1,273,990 — Total deaths: 69,444 — Total recoveries: 260,247Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 337,310 — Total deaths: 9,634 — Total recoveries: 17,461Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment." The USDA confirms that a Bronx zoo tiger tested positive for coronavirus.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. World update: Queen Elizabeth II urges the British people to confront pandemic with "self-discipline" and "resolve" in rare televised address.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Intelligence community watchdog suggests Trump fired him for doing his job

Michael Atkinson, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community,at the Capitol in October. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson suggested in a statement Sunday President Trump fired him for acting impartially in carrying out his duties following a whistleblower complaint.

Why it matters: Atkinson alerted Congress last September to the complaint on Trump's correspondence with Ukraine's president, triggering an inquiry that resulted in the Trump's impeachment.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy