Stop the Opiate Tax aka The Lifeboat Act

Stop the unfair taxation/fee proposal in congress Budgeting for Opioid Treatment Act

A group of leglslators has recently proposed to enact a 1 cent per miligram tax on opiate drugs only as a method of raising funds supposedly to be used to pay for drug treatment programs in the war on drugs. While this sounds on the surface like a worthy program there are many reasons for this program to be halted because in essence it is not taxing the people who will be using the programs but taxing the 95% of the opiate prescription users - Chronic Pain Patients, Senior Citizens and Disabled people who use their medications responsibly who will NEVER be participants in Drug Rehabilitation programs.

The people who somehow need to pay for the costs of drug rehabilitation programs are the drug rehabilitation program users who go through rehabilitation, not the people who never will be using these programs and use the opiate medications responsibly to relieve chronic pain and have somewhat reasonaby decent quality of life while living with unbearable pain.

I refer you to the article published by Pain News Network for additional information

Senators Propose Tax on Opioid Pain Meds

June 02, 2016

By Pat Anson, Editor

A group of U.S. Senators has introduced legislation that would establish a federal tax on all opioid pain medication. If approved, it would be the first federal tax on a prescription drug levied directly on consumers.

The bill, called the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act, would create a one cent fee on each milligram of an active opioid ingredient in pain medication. Money from this ?permanent funding stream? would be used to provide and expand access to addiction treatment.

?A major barrier that those suffering from opioid addiction face is insufficient access to substance abuse treatment,? said Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia. ?This legislation will bridge that gap and make sure that we can provide treatment to everyone who makes the decision to get help. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this bill passed so we can take another step forward in the fight against opioid abuse.?

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) are co-sponsoring the bill, which has been dubbed the ?LifeBOAT? Act.

?By establishing a reliable stream of funding, this bill will bolster treatment facilities across the country, increase the amount of services available, and support people as they fight back against addiction ? all while doing so in a cost-effective way,? said Sen. King.

The opioid tax would raise an estimated $1.5 billion to $2 billion per year. In an interview with the Portland Press Herald, King said the fee would range between 75 cents and $3 for a 30-day prescription, depending on the dose. He claimed many patients wouldn?t have to pay the additional cost because their insurance would cover it.

King said treatment programs need funding, and tacking the cost onto the price of the drug is

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Public Comments (806)
Mar 27th, 2017
Albert G. from Ninilchik, AK writes:
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We really need to get the politians out of politics, they seem so disconnected with reality..... I encourage any of them to contact me and explain why I need to pay for those whome abuse opeoids simply because I need to take an opiate in order to live the resemblance of a normal life. Is not the pain I already deal with enough? It appears not... now they need to attack my bank account as well. Lastly, by saying insurance will cover it is simply laughable, the insurance company's get the money to pay for all this from us, if their prices go up their fees go up as well. Yes the end user always pays in the end.
Mar 18th, 2017
Someone from Minot, ND writes:
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I take 1 to 2, 50 mg tablets of tramadol daily to help manage cronic pain from MS. This bill would add $15 to $30 to my monthly prescription cost. I am very responsible wirh my medication and only take the pills when I need them to deal with the pain. I don't think I should have to pay up to $360 extra annually when I am using my meds correctly. This bill punishes responsible people who need medication to keep cronic pain at a functional level.
Mar 14th, 2017
Someone from Sacramento, CA writes:
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And the 'War on Opiates' continues. This time was in a ridiculous tax that is going to help those who need/to into rehabs?? The majority of responsible patients that must use this class of drugs will NEVER asked the inside of a rehab. Then why are we paying for the bad decisions of others---those who abuse then become addicted to opiates? We chronic pain patients do have Tolerance and Dependance---completely different than addiction although they are mistakenly lumped together with Addiction. Since October 2014, when Hydrocodone was rescheduled to a Schedule II drug, our cries for help in a life filled with pain took a turn for the worst. Pharmacies were short all the time, forcing the patient to make extra trips to their doctors to obtain a prescription, costing us a visit, since Schedule II drugs cannot have refills written. This costs time, gas, and for many is more pain due to the travel required. Also it hit the physicians hard, causing them to fit in their already busy days with short visits with their patients and caused their daily caseload to increase. Then there was Walgreens who had to pay out a fine of 80 million to the DEA. They had dispensed more OxyContin than any other pharmacy in the US. They were filling the Florida Pill Mills prescriptions just as fast as they came in the door, not going through proper avenues of safety to make sure their patients weren't Dr. Shopping or Pharmacy Hopping. The just wanted the money. So who suffers for their ineptitude? Yep, chronic pain patients by implementing their "Good Faith Dispensing Policy". They would refuse to fill a valid prescription with this 'policy' and make it even harder for legitimate patients to get their meds. One Pharmacy Dr. who writes a blog and stands behind chronic pain patients being treated improperly, wrote a post about the Walgreens issue. He made an excellent point. By the Pharmacist refusing to fill a valid script to a legitimate patient, with no good reason, he stated that the Pharmacist was actually Practicing Medicine by blocking and overruling a physicians orders. Now we are going to be hit again by an unneeded practice. Taxing opiate meds under the guise of it helping those who need rehab? Does anyone see the blame-thinking here? Like victim-blaming? Why should we (or our insurance companies) be involved in ANY way in a tax in the very medication that allows us a quality of some type of life, get out of bed, walk--generally all the activities of daily living that those who wrote this bill do with ease? Without a second thought? I thought I'd seen it all with this war--now it's financially-based. Unreal. I feel like we are losing our voices---the pain patients who should not be responsible for anything but taking care of our OWN pain and all that has come to entail. Don't the lawmakers know one person that suffers from horrible DAILY pain?? When will this stop?? I'll sign the petition and write my public representatives. Although I feel as if once they see the words 'Chronic Pain' or Opiates, the email or letter quickly finds its way into the trash can. I am so tired of being under a microscope just because 40 years ago the back of the van I was in, unrestrained, did a rollover. The firefighters who got us out said we were so lucky to be alive. Sometimes when the pain hits hard, the thought passes through my mind that I don't really feel that lucky.
Feb 26th, 2017
Someone from Mission Hill, SD writes:
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This needs to stop! You are only hurting the CHRONIC PAIN sufferers!!! Not the people who are abusing drugs...they will always find a way to abuse them!!! When it is used for medication for many kinds of chronic is medication that helps people have less pain and a better quality of life! There are rules the chronic pain people must follow and we do! Fight the real problem and please leave us alone so we can get the medical attention, doctors to helo us with our legitimate diseases, syndromes, conditions that cause such unbelievable pain we have to live with each and everyday! This is not right, it's discrimination, inhumane and no reason we should be targeted like this! Let the doctor's do their jobs and keep the government, insurance companies out of all of it! Find another way to get the addicts and tax them! All of this is rediculous!!!
Jan 22nd, 2017
Ann H. from Akron, OH writes:
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This bill is just, WRONG, And will only harm, non-addict, Chronic pain patients.
Jan 15th, 2017
Sally H. from Schwenksville, PA writes:
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Please rethink your decision regarding opioids. The only people you hurt are those of us who are already hurting. Those who choose to abuse these drugs will simply find other drugs to abuse. It leaves chronic pain patients with nothing.
Jan 13th, 2017
Bobby P. from Maysville, NC signed.
Jan 4th, 2017
Someone from Millville, NJ signed.
Jan 4th, 2017
Someone from Fuquay Varina, NC signed.
Jan 3rd, 2017
Someone from Concord, CA writes:
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OMG, when is it going to end? Do you just want any and all intractable chronic pain patients to just die? Because everything and everything coming out of Washington is leading me to that conclusion. Newsflash: WE AREN'T THE PROBLEM. We AREN'T the addicts you are making so much noise about. We are the (often) poor people who have severe, chronic pain from a myriad of conditions that AREN'T Cancer, but might as well be, because that is how much they hurt. All the chanting, biobeedback, PT and "Talk Therapy" does nothing for us. We are the patients who absolutely benefit from Opiate therapy. We take our medicine responsibly, and don't run out, sell, trade or do other nonsense. We don't take heroin or other nasty stuff. We just take our medicine like our doctors TELL US TO TAKE IT. What did we EVER do to any of you people? Please have some mercy on us, because if you don't, you are going to seek the ranks of suicides swell from poor, vulnerable folk who can no longer get effective medical care from their pain doctors who are too afraid of being penalized by Washington. PLEASE DON'T DO THIS. I beg you. Life is already much too difficult for all of us are having to live like this.

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