In California many lawmakers are considering an opioid tax to help curve the national crisis, but a new report suggests that might not help. Economic advisor Alex Brill says the tax will fall on big pharma, not the patients.
The report, State Opioid Taxes: Economic Health Policy Implications, was released this week. It suggests funding drug prevention programs and rehabilitation services can be more effective at reducing opioid use than a tax on prescriptions.
The CDC says over 130 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses and it's now more likely for Americans to die from opioids than it is to die in a car accident.
The financial burden of the opioid epidemic is over 500-billion-dollars a year in the U.S. and 275-dollars per person in California. Brill predicts the tax could make healthcare more expensive in general, but not for opioid users specifically.
Brill says those who can no longer afford to pay retail price for opioids will go elsewhere to meet the needs of their addiction.
Brill also says states can rely more on existing income taxes or sales taxes to fund addiction programs.