Scientists may have found a painkiller that you can't overdose on.

A new candidate drug could help manage pain without harmful side effects.

A few years ago, I got my wisdom teeth out. Ironically, one of the worst parts of the experience was the painkillers.

I was prescribed oxycodone, an opioid painkiller, after the procedure. And though it helped with the recovery, I felt like taking those pills was a bigger deal than, you know, having part of my body surgically removed.


I disliked taking them because I ended up with killer nausea (I actually had to get another prescription to deal with that), but I also knew (and had a stern warning from the pharmacist) that opioids can sometimes be dangerous.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad we have opioid painkillers.

Opioids are a class of drugs named after the opium poppy. They include medicines like oxycodone and morphine as well as medicines-turned-illicit drugs like heroin. They're an indispensable part of modern medicine. Few other drugs approach their ability to reduce pain.

But there are big drawbacks to using them.

They can be incredibly addictive. In fact, the U.S. currently has an epidemic of people addicted to either prescription or illicit opioids.

They also come with some serious side effects, including halting your respiration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates than more than 70 people a day die from an opioid overdose.

Overdose kits can save lives but only if they get there in time. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

So that begs the question: What if we could make an opioid without all those drawbacks?

Scientists might have just created an overdose-proof opioid. Oh, and early tests hint that it might not be addictive, either.

A new study published online Aug. 17, 2016, in Nature explained that a team of scientists just developed a candidate drug that kills pain without interfering with our ability to breathe.

They also think the drug might circumvent the brain's addiction circuit, although they need to do more work to see if this holds up.

One of the coolest things about this is how they created the drug.

Instead of tweaking an existing medicine, they started from scratch.

Opioids work by locking on to molecules in our cells known as receptors, especially one called the mu opioid receptor. For a long time this was a black box, but we recently figured out the mu opioid receptor's atomic structure.

It might look like a tie-die Rorschach test, but to a scientist, this could be a treasure map. Image from Protein Data Bank/Wikimedia Commons.

Why is this a big deal? It's like the difference between trying random keys in a door and being given the lock's specific blueprint. So rather than having to try chemicals one by one, the scientists were able to create a custom design on a computer.  Over a few weeks, they ran four trillion virtual experiments, looking for the perfect key — one that'd hit only the mu opioid receptor while avoiding the ones that influenced breathing.

After a while, they ended up with about two dozen candidates, which they then synthesized and tested in mice. Those experiments led to the new drug.

There's a long, long way to go with this new drug. But if this works, it could help a lot of people someday.

Kim Sullivan's son died of an opioid overdose. She's since become a public health education advocate. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

"Morphine transformed medicine," said one of the scientists, professor Brian Shoichet, in a press release. "There are so many medical procedures we can do now because we know we can control the pain afterwards. But it's obviously dangerous too. People have been searching for a safer replacement for standard opioids for decades."

It's premature to say whether this drug'll hit the shelves. But who knows — one day someone might be able to walk into a pharmacy after getting their wisdom teeth out, secure in the knowledge that their painkiller is not only effective but safer than ever before.

Heroes
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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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