Much as the invention of anesthesia revolutionized surgery, opioid medicines have greatly improved post-operative and long-term pain management—allowing patients to re-enter the workforce and regain a measure of normalcy in their personal lives unheard of a generation ago.
As with any powerfully effective medicines, opioids have risks and side effects. With their broader use, abuse and addiction related to opioids has become an important public policy concern.
Drug abuse and addiction is a leading concern of CBIA member companies, who raise it often in our Workers’ Compensation Council.
Developing effective policies to combat drug abuse and addiction is complex—the key is to understand that the problem is just that, drug addiction, not opioids properly used as medicines.
This year there are several legislative proposals relating to opioids, as well as drug abuse in general.
One concept would involve assessment of a fee on opioid manufacturers, with the additional state revenue to be used for opioid addiction treatment programs.
Such proposals, while well intentioned, are ill-advised.
Imposing yet another tax and setting a precedent for special taxes on particular products further degrades Connecticut’s business climate.
Imposing yet another tax and setting a precedent for special taxes on particular products will further erode business confidence and degrade Connecticut’s business climate.
Fortunately, there’s a solution.
Biopharma companies have responded to the addiction and abuse issue with cutting-edge R&D and an investment of billions of dollars. The result is a new class of medicines known as “abuse deterrent opioids.”
These medicines use a variety of mechanisms to make opioid abuse very difficult, if not impossible. One version, for example, contains a compound that neutralizes the euphoric effect of the opioid if the pill is crushed.
To combat drug abuse and addiction, and rather than levying a new tax, legislative effort would be far better spent in facilitating education for patients, patient access to non-pharmacological and non-opioid therapies, and the introduction of abuse-deterrent opioids, within existing appropriated funds.