The Delaware House this afternoon passed Senate Bill 34 by a vote of 33-8. The bill goes to Governor Carney for his signature. The no votes were all from Republicans: Briggs King, Collins, Michael Smith, Morris, Postles, Ramone, Spiegelman, and Yearick. I am sure they are all fine with the Opioid epidemic.
This bill makes Delaware one of the first states to fight the Opioid Epidemic by imposing a tax on those opioids to raise funds to provide treatment to those addicted. Senate Bill 34 would add a fee of 1 cent per morphine milligram equivalent for name-brand opioids and one-quarter of a cent for generics. If the bill is signed into law, a 10mg pill of oxycodone would cost an extra 15 (brand-name) or 4 cents (generic).
“This is about holding drug companies accountable for the role their products played in creating this epidemic. These drug companies have relied on the business of deception, marketing and selling prescription opioids as the addiction epidemic damages states across the country. It’s only fair that this industry helps to pay for some of the harm,” said Rep. Bentz, D-Christiana.
“This battle takes a coordinated, all-hands-on-deck approach, and we need to be doing all we can to give it our best fight. The opioid impact fee raises a dedicated stream of funds for addiction prevention, treatment, and life-saving drugs that can save a person who overdoses. This funding is critical, and I am proud that my colleagues voted to swiftly pass this legislation.”
State officials estimate that small levy would generate more than $8 million over the next three years, largely because Delaware is currently one of the top 20 states when it comes to opioid prescriptions per capita and the top state in the nation for high-dose prescriptions.
“Make no mistake about it, this legislation will save lives,” said prime sponsor Sen. Hansen, D-Middletown. “Passage of this bill also sends a clear message that the Delaware General Assembly is focused on putting the needs of families and neighbors ahead of the record profits drug makers are reaping from the very public health crisis they helped to create. This legislation will bring needed funding for programs and treatment for those who are suffering from addiction, their families, providers, and those doing the hard work of staying in recovery and helping others.”
Money collected from that fee could subsidize enrollment in residential treatment programs for the uninsured and underinsured, expand treatment options statewide and conduct research on effective opioid treatments. The dedicated fund for these programs would be administered by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services with input from the Behavioral Health Consortium, Addiction Action Committee and the Overdose System of Care.
Where is the bill now? Passed Senate 17-4 on 4/9/19, and then passed the House 33-8. Onto the Governor.
Democratic Sponsors: Hansen, Bentz, Ennis, Lockman, McBride, McDowell, Paradee, Poore, Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend, Walsh, Baumbach, Brady, Dorsey-Walker, Heffernan, Osienski, Seigfried, K.Williams
Republican Sponsors: Delcollo, Hensley, M.Smith
Yes Votes: Senate-Brown, Cloutier, Delcollo, Ennis, Hansen, Hocker, Lockman, Lopez, McBride, McDowell, Paradee, Pettyjohn, Poore, Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend, Walsh. House-Baumbach, Bennett, Bentz, Bolden, Brady, Bush, Carson, Chukwuocha, Cooke, D.Short, Dorsey Walker, Dukes, Gray, Griffith, Heffernan, Hensley, Jaques, K.Johnson, K.Williams, Kowalko, Longhurst, Lynn, Matthews, Minor-Brown, Mitchell, Osienski, Q. Johnson, Schwartzkopf, Seigfried, Shupe, Smyk, Vanderwende, Viola
No Votes: Senate–Bonini, Lawson, Richardson, Wilson. House– Briggs King, Collins, Michael Smith, Morris, Postles, Ramone, Spiegelman, Yearick