Reader's View: Don't tax more to fight opioids
The Aug. 30 article, "8th District candidates address opioids crisis," hit home. The opioid epidemic is beyond a serious issue in Minnesota. It deserves the focus and attention of our state legislators and lawmakers. Addiction is ravaging our com...
The Aug. 30 article, "8th District candidates address opioids crisis," hit home. The opioid epidemic is beyond a serious issue in Minnesota. It deserves the focus and attention of our state legislators and lawmakers. Addiction is ravaging our communities, and legislative action is imminent.
But our lawmakers must not be shortsighted or hasty in their approach. They must recognize this is a complex crisis and no single person or industry is to blame.
Last session, the Minnesota Legislature considered a bill that would have placed a tax on opioid sales to fund prevention and treatment efforts. This legislation was a perfect example of misplaced blame for a quick fix. Of course, the bill was written with good intentions, but it was clear lawmakers didn't consider exactly who the bill would target and how.
If implemented, it would have fallen hard on pharmaceutical wholesale distributors - the people who safely and securely transport medicines and health care supplies to doctors, pharmacies, caregivers, and hospitals. They're not the ones manufacturing, marketing, or selling opioids, and they have no influence over medicinal supply and demand. So how would taxing wholesale distributors realistically have reversed opioid addiction? It probably wouldn't have.
What it most likely would have done was increase costs on the entire health care system, limiting access to care for patients who are suffering from painful diseases. I sincerely hope that when lawmakers go back to the drawing board they work with patient groups, the whole medical community, and law enforcement to develop a comprehensive plan to fight opioid addiction throughout Minnesota - without adding new taxes.