States Consider Imposing Taxes on Prescription Opioids to Pay for Addiction Treatment

Bills introduced in at least 15 states would impose taxes or fees on prescription painkillers as a way to pay for addiction prevention and treatment. Most of the bills were proposed during the past year. Several of the measures have bipartisan support, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Legislators face intense pressure from drug companies to reject or soften the measures, the article notes. Drug companies and distributors argue taxing prescription drugs would lead to cost increases that would affect patients or taxpayers.

Drug manufacturers and distributors are defending themselves in hundreds of lawsuits filed by state and local governments seeking damages for the toll the opioid crisis has taken on their communities.

Opioids & Their Risks Explained

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Deaths from heroin increased 328% between 2010 and 2015, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now seeing a sharp rise as well. More Americans die from drug overdoses than in car crashes, and this increasing trend is driven by Rx painkillers.