Why Taxing Painkillers Won’t be an Undue Tax on Non-Users
What is the Painkiller tax?
California legislator Kevin McCarty announced this bill which would basically tax wholesalers a $0.01 per mg for prescription painkiller medications. Drugs such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, and other prescription drugs are legal when prescribed by a doctor. The problem has become the availability of these medications for recreational use as “street drugs.” For this very reason, rehab facilities have seen more and more cases of patients abusing prescription medication, leading to death in recent years. The painkiller tax is being proposed in an effort to help curb availability of these drugs, and placing a tax on wholesalers who produce them.
The tax won’t affect end users
One of the main issues/worries behind this tax is that it will end up costing non-users, or individuals who actually use, but don’t abuse these prescription painkillers. This however won’t be the case. The $0.01 per mg increase would be taxed to the wholesaler (and might possibly affect the manufacturers of these drugs as well), not at the point of sale. Although prices might increase a small percentage, this is only a fraction of what it is currently costing (in tax money), to fund California rehab services.
The tax collected might actually reduce taxpayer burdens
One might think that this tax is going to end up costing them more in tax dollars. However, if properly legislated, it might have the counter effect. Due to the overwhelming number of addicts in rehab, taxpayers are burdening the cost of paying for rehab services. Simply paying a little more for painkillers from your local pharmacy, can result in tax savings, since funds will be reallocated to pay for the cost of California rehab services and clinics.
Tax would be redirected to helping those in need
The main benefit of implementing the tax if the bill is passed, is the simple fact that the tax monies collected would be put to use to assist in paying for California rehab services for patients who need to check into rehab. Communities and major cities, such as LA, see hundreds of thousands of patients enrolling in rehab facilities and services annually. The taxpayers are the ones who are burdening and paying for these services. With the painkiller tax in place, a large percentage of taxes which are currently being paid by taxpayers, would be offset by the collection of taxes paid by wholesalers who are reselling the prescription drugs.
A major epidemic which requires change to improve cities/communities
Drug addiction, use of illegal drugs, and the availability of these prescription drugs on the streets, are major issues in CA, as well as around the US. The simple fact that taxes are being levied on these prescription drug wholesalers, might help limit the high availability to street sellers. This is in turn going to help keep the streets cleaner, help improve the appearance of cities, and possibly help regulate or minimize illegal use in certain areas where illegal drug use is running rampant. Ultimately this will help in improving quality of life for addicts, and will help maintain an improved society for those living in these major metropolitan areas in the state.
A simple way to help those in need
Many believe they don’t owe drug addicts any assistance. And although this is ultimately true, the simple fact that there are so many addicts in rehab facilities throughout the state of California means that the taxpayer is ultimately paying for these individuals to get clean either way. With this painkiller tax, those who require rehab services can visit any local rehab clinic or facility. There are more available funds to pay for services provided to patients in these clinics from tax monies collected on sale of prescription painkillers. It is truly a win-win-win for those living in CA, the taxpayer, and of course addicts in need of assistance, and trying to get clean, when they suffer from addiction of prescription drugs.