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Opioid prescription rates across the country have been declining since their peak in 2012, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2016 national prescription rate was the lowest in a decade at 66.5 per 100 people.

Expand chart
Data: Centers for Disease Control; Map: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Why it matters: The Trump administration recently unveiled its plan to defeat the opioid crisis — including pursuing the death penalty for certain drug dealers. The Justice Department has joined a lawsuit against drugmakers and distributors that sell or sold prescription opioids, and the big spending bill passed by Congress included a $2.8 billion increase for opioid addiction treatment, prevention and research.

By the numbers
  • The heaviest areas of opioid prescription are in still in the Appalachian region. Over time, higher prescription rates have popped up further south.
  • While overall opioid prescriptions have been falling, the opioid death rate has continued to rise.

The 10 states with the highest opioid prescription rates in 2016 all saw decreases from 2015. Rates shown are per 100 people.

  1. Alabama 121.0
  2. Arkansas 114.6
  3. Tennessee 107.5
  4. Mississippi 105.6
  5. Louisiana 98.1
  6. Oklahoma 97.9
  7. Kentucky 97.2
  8. West Virginia 96
  9. South Carolina 89.4
  10. Michigan 84.9

Go deeper

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

1 hour ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.

Climate reckoning for oil and gas CEOs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Top executives from ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Shell will face a reckoning on Capitol Hill Thursday, as they're grilled on evidence that their companies knew for years that their products were driving climate change but chose to downplay or deny it.

Why it matters: The hearing before the House Oversight Committee will be the first time these executives have been brought together to provide sworn testimony regarding what they knew about the ties between their company's products and climate change, and when they knew it.