States consider taxing opioids to fund addiction treatment

Lawmakers in seven states – Kentucky, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia – are considering proposals to tax opioid drugs, in some cases specifically to raise funds for addiction treatment programs.

“350 million opioid pain pills came into Kentucky last year. Drug companies get billions, our state gets nothing, and communities are devastated,” complained Kentucky Rep. James Kay, who has sponsored such a bill.

While raising money for addiction treatment is a good idea, some opponents of the bills have questioned whether it’s fair to raise the money by taxing patients who need medication. There’s also the question whether the bills would reduce overdoses and addiction, since opioids are not a consumer discretionary expense (like soda or tobacco) and since people who don’t have a prescription often buy them on the black market.

Source: Governing. Click here for more information.

Click here for more information on the proposal in Vermont.