Opioid tax would help battle addiction crisis (editorial)

For addicts, recognizing that they have a problem and “deciding to get help is a major psychological hurdle. But far too often Delawareans make that leap of faith only to find that help isn’t available,” which can be “a crushing defeat in the war against overdoses.”

The main obstacle is said to be money for addiction treatment. “State leaders have taken some steps to invest more in treatment, but even many small-government conservatives agree it could do more."

So the General Assembly is considering a solution that should make everyone happy, an opioid tax that would be used to fill a stewardship fund dedicated solely to fighting the addiction crisis. And the tax would primarily affect drug companies, “which deserve to be held accountable for their role is soaring overdose rates.”

Two different bills are making the rounds. The first would create a separate agency to administer the fund, while the second would leave administration to the existing state bureaucracy. There are also differences in “the way the tax is measured.” Probably a combination of the two approaches would be ideal, just so long as there is “an ironclad requirement that all money raised from the opioid tax got directly towards addiction-fighting efforts.” With this assurance, “even conservatives should be on board.”

Earmarking the proceeds doesn’t change the fact that this would be a tax increase, which isn’t currently needed on an overall basis. Also, won’t the drug companies raise their prices to pass the tax burden on to taxpayers? And would the state AG continue supporting a class action lawsuit against the drug companies as well? Keep up the pressure on drug companies, 2/18/18.
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