Merkley Introduces Bill for Opioid Treatment Surge

Merkley Introduces Bill for Opioid Treatment Surge

Bill levies fees on companies that flooded the market and fueled the crisis to pay for a dramatic increase in treatment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of new data showing record number of opioid overdose deaths, Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley today introduced the Opioid Treatment Surge Act to fund a big increase in treatment capacity funded by imposing fees on the drug companies that created the opioid crisis.

“Drug companies flooded the streets with massive quantities of opioids to enrich themselves while a generation of Americans got hooked,” Merkley said. “It is time for those companies to commit a portion of those profits to dramatically increase treatment capacity to address this crisis.

“I have heard heart-wrenching stories from Oregonians who have lost loved ones after a prescription for an injury or treatment turned into an addiction,” Merkley continued. “This addiction is tough enough to kick in the best of circumstances, but too often when people are looking for treatment it’s not available. An enormous spike in addictions requires an enormous spike in treatment capacity, and it’s only right that the companies that profited creating the problem help pay for the solutions.”

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2017. That record-setting number was largely due to a staggering 45 percent increase in deaths involving opioids. In 2013, about 3,000 deaths were associated with opioids. In 2017, about 28,000 people died because of an opioid overdose.

Drug companies irresponsibly fueled the opioid epidemic with overprescribing and aggressive marketing tactics. Merkley’s Opioid Treatment Surge Act would require those same drug companies to pay for additional treatment to address this crisis.

The bill would establish a $2 billion per year treatment surge for the next ten years, paid for by a fee on opioid manufacturers. The companies would pay each year’s assessment in proportion to their portion of overall opioid sales since 1999—the year the opioid crisis slowly began to build. The companies that manufactured the most opioids would pay the highest portion of the annual fee.

The bill provides exceptions to the fee for opioids used exclusively for the treatment of opioid addiction—as part of a medically assisted treatment effort—or for those used by cancer or hospice patients.

Revenue from the $2 billion fee will go to the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, which is distributed to states to pay for with addiction treatment.

Information about how the Opioid Treatment Surge Act would increase funding on a state-by-state basis follows below.

 

State

FY18 Funding

Under Merkley Bill

Alabama

$23,356,917

$49,253,224

Alaska

$6,154,694

$12,978,533

Arizona

$40,644,307

$85,707,509

Arkansas

$13,790,921

$29,081,207

California

$254,706,548

$537,105,080

Colorado

$29,045,376

$61,248,598

Connecticut

$18,479,143

$38,967,359

Delaware

$7,233,530

$15,253,498

Florida

$111,656,028

$235,451,426

Georgia

$57,423,236

$121,089,591

Hawaii

$8,848,122

$18,658,222

Idaho

$8,801,737

$18,560,409

Illinois

$67,917,901

$143,219,913

Indiana

$32,514,482

$68,563,975

Iowa

$13,359,727

$28,171,939

Kansas

$12,165,916

$25,654,524

Kentucky

$20,645,520

$43,535,644

Louisiana

$25,294,067

$53,338,134

Maine

$7,233,530

$15,253,498

Maryland

$34,348,574

$72,431,564

Massachusetts

$40,114,281

$84,589,832

Michigan

$56,323,757

$118,771,097

Minnesota

$24,988,666

$52,694,128

Mississippi

$14,070,016

$29,669,740

Missouri

$26,816,271

$56,548,037

Montana

$7,233,530

$15,253,498

Nebraska

$7,907,045

$16,673,753

Nevada

$17,270,184

$36,418,002

New Hampshire

$7,233,530

$15,253,498

New Jersey

$48,334,255

$101,923,465

New Mexico

$9,831,121

$20,731,093

New York

$112,106,839

$236,402,060

North Carolina

$45,261,647

$95,444,192

North Dakota

$6,799,236

$14,337,693

Ohio

$64,807,533

$136,661,014

Oklahoma

$17,416,147

$36,725,797

Oregon

$20,845,513

$43,957,374

Pennsylvania

$59,371,425

$125,197,779

Rhode Island

$7,864,276

$16,583,565

South Carolina

$23,985,271

$50,578,248

South Dakota

$6,307,347

$13,300,436

Tennessee

$32,246,615

$67,999,118

Texas

$144,988,914

$305,741,187

Utah

$16,855,328

$35,543,186

Vermont

$6,725,555

$14,182,320

Virginia

$42,249,325

$89,092,044

Washington

$75,842,286

$159,930,231

West Virginia

$8,698,568

$18,342,854

Wisconsin

$27,465,848

$57,917,814

Wyoming

$4,463,001

$9,411,225

American Samoa

$369,188

$778,515

Guam

$1,049,684

$2,213,491

Fed. Micronesia

$284,243

$599,389

N. Marianas Isle.

$356,527

$751,816

Marshal Islands

$202,872

$427,800

Rep. Palau

$77,395

$163,204

Puerto Rico

$22,815,599

$48,111,736

Virgin Islands

$680,998

$1,436,035

$1,803,880,112

$3,803,880,112