ALBANY, NY (WSKG) – Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to impose a tax on manufacturers of prescription opioids to help pay for state programs that help people who are addicted to them. But some say it will be patients who will ultimately have to pay the price.
The Pennsylvania governor’s proposed spending plan includes $33 million to combat the opioid epidemic that is ravaging communities and that has claimed the lives of more than 5,000 Pennsylvanians last year.
SYRACUSE (WRVO) – One of the new sources of revenue included in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed executive budget is an opioid epidemic surcharge. The 2 cent tax per milligram of active opioid ingredient on pills would be levied on drug manufacturers.
HARRISBURG (WSKG) — Governor Tom Wolf has declared Pennsylvania’s opioid addiction epidemic a “disaster emergency.” Usually, that designation is reserved for things like floods or hurricanes. This is the first time a Pennsylvania governor has used it for a health issue. The move is designed to let the state cut through red tape to address the opioid crisis more quickly. Pennsylvania currently has the fourth-highest rate of addiction-related deaths in the country, and while many states are starting to see their rates level off or begin to fall, the commonwealth’s are rising.
Governor Tom Wolf is expected today to declare the heroin and opioid crisis in Pennsylvania a statewide emergency. He will use his authority to proclaim a disaster emergency, which is is normally reserved for cleanup and relief efforts after natural disasters or storms. READ FULL STORY HERE.
Steuben County plans to join the chorus of municipalities filing lawsuits over the opioid epidemic. The county legislature gave the unanimous go-ahead to pursue the lawsuit on Monday. Steuben is targeting major pharmaceutical companies and large prescribers. Large prescribers could mean places like hospital systems. The decision came after the public urged legal action at forums in Bath, Corning and Hornell. The county population is relatively small, but still had 16 overdose deaths last year. “The number is staggering in comparison to what we were looking at even five years ago.
Advocates for a site where heroin users can safely inject in Ithaca brought their case before the Tompkins County legislature this week. The only operational supervised injection sites in North America are in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. There are none yet in the U.S. Ithaca advocates, principally Dr. William Klepack, said injection sites help reduce the number of overdose-related deaths. Since supervised injection is illegal in New York state, however, one of the legislators’ main questions to advocates was what could be the next steps for supervised injection sites in Ithaca? An answer to that came from the former Tompkins County district attorney.
ITHACA (WSKG) – Back in the ‘90s, states sued big tobacco to pay for the costs of caring for smokers. Now, New York state counties, including Broome, are trying to sue big pharma over the opioid crisis. And Tompkins County is weighing whether it wants in. It’s pretty attractive. It’s free for the counties because their lawyers just get a cut of the winnings. But, Tompkins County must decide if it’s worth the time and manpower to provide information for a county lawsuit — or just join a potential statewide suit. After a day in felony drug court, Todd Livingston stood on the front steps of the Tompkins County Courthouse in Ithaca. He’s a defense lawyer and said half the cases in the court are opioid-related.