State Lawmaker Proposes Fighting Drug Addiction With A Tax

A California lawmaker wants to tax OxyContin and other prescription opioids to fund addiction rehabilitation and prevention programs.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty on Wednesday announced AB1512 to create a 1 cent-per-milligram tax on opioids. The Sacramento Democrat said California could be the first state to enact such a tax, although similar legislation has been proposed at the federal level and in Connecticut, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

McCarty's office estimates the tax would generate tens of millions of dollars for rehabilitation and prevention services.

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It would directly apply to opioid prescription wholesalers but could indirectly raise prices for manufacturers and insurers. The tax could also affect prices for consumers depending on their insurance plans.

McCarty said his office estimates any impact on consumers would be roughly a few dollars per month.

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