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A tax to stop opioid abuse?

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This year several states - including Massachusetts - have considered a tax on opioid-based prescription painkiller sales.

The proposals vary from state to state, but can involve taxing some combination of manufacturers, producers, importers, and distributors. The taxes can be based on gross receipts, the number of pills, or the amount of addicting substances in the drugs. Some proposals have exceptions for opioids used for hospice and cancer patients.

All of the proposals send the tax revenue to opioid addiction treatment or prevention.

To learn more about prescription drug abuse in New Hampshire, visit our issue page.

Opioid taxes in NH

There have been no proposals to tax opioid sales in New Hampshire. However, the idea might have some support in a state without a broad-based sales or income tax.

Supporters of a tax on opioid sales argue that it is a fair way to generate revenue in the middle of a public health crisis over addiction. A tax might also discourage over-prescribing of opioids.

Opponents of a tax on opioid sales argue that the tax would ultimately be passed onto consumers, increasing the already-high cost of health care. Opponents also argue that the tax could run afoul of federal laws that prohibit taxation of Medicare Part D prescriptions.


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Pavlov would love the Dems. Show them a problem (stimulus), they respond with a tax proposal (response).

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