Editor's note

Overdose deaths in the U.S. have tripled since 2000. This month, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. But that decision, argues Erin Winstanley at West Virginia University, comes years too late: communities need more money and support and treatment options that the government seems hesitant to back.

Last Friday the White House announced a number of controversial decisions, including the president’s official pardon of convicted Arizona county former sheriff Joe Arpaio. As legal scholar and former federal prosecutor Steven Mulroy puts it, “pardoning Arpaio may send the message that state and local officials can aggressively enforce federal immigration law, even if it risks racial profiling and violating the due process rights of citizens and noncitizens.”

Demand for caregivers who assist seniors already far exceeds their supply and experts say this shortfall will grow increasingly dire. But University of Maryland, Baltimore County robotics researcher Cynthia Matuszek sees a way out of this encroaching crisis: “I believe artificial intelligence has the potential not only to care for our elders but to do so in a way that increases their independence and reduces their social isolation.”

Aviva Rutkin

Big Data and Applied Mathematics Editor

Top story

People without ID, like Steven Kemp, are sometimes turned away from the country’s already threadbare system of drug treatment centers. Matt Rourke/AP Photo

The opioid epidemic is finally a national emergency – eight years too late

Erin Winstanley, West Virginia University

On August 10, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. But we need to do a lot more to prevent this crisis from escalating even further.

Politics + Society

Economy + Business

Science + Technology


  • Charlottesville: A step in our long arc toward justice

    Derek W. Black, University of South Carolina

    When Martin Luther King Jr. was met by violent opposition, he remained hopeful, believing that 'the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.' While racism remains, there's reason for hope.

Ethics + Religion

  • A trans soldier in the ancient Roman army?

    Tom Sapsford, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

    An ancient Roman fable imagines a cinaedus, well-known for his brazen effeminacy, fighting heroically. The story raises concerns over gender identity in the military -- much like those seen today.

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Today’s quote

Most people won’t notice a big change when the first AI attack is unleashed...But as we continue to fill our homes, factories, offices and roads with internet-connected robotic systems, the potential effects of an attack by artificial intelligence only grows.

  Jeremy Straub