What’s Wrong With New York’s Proposed Opioid Tax?

The opioid epidemic is a serious crisis that deserves a serious solution. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids every single day. That’s nearly 50,000 people dying in one year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

Clearly, we need a solution.

But the Executive Budget 30-day amendment proposal, contained in Part XX of the Revenue Article VII bill, does not address this crisis by imposing a tax on certain opioid medications.

In fact, this tax creates a confusing, costly and administratively burdensome tax that raises a number of serious policy and legal concerns.

What New York really needs is a comprehensive policy approach to addressing the opioid crisis, including the prevention of overprescribing; efforts to educate patients and prescribers; expanding access to appropriate treatments for substance use disorders; and enhancing law enforcement efforts; all while ensuring appropriate patient access to needed medications.

To learn more about this tax, click here.