David Forbes, St. Cloud
St. Cloud area businesses are the backbone of our community and our economic force. And as any good businessperson knows, businesses need a healthy and productive employee base to flourish and grow. Unfortunately, the opioid addiction crisis is putting a significant strain on our economy and damaging communities nationwide.
Minnesota continues to be a leader in its efforts to combat drug overdoses and our lawmakers are working overtime to ensure our communities are free of prescription-drug addiction. But recent legislative efforts to fund our fight against opioid abuse through a tax on all opioid-containing medications was very misguided.
While seemingly well-intentioned, this tax wouldn’t have done much to stop prescription opioids from falling into the wrong hands. Instead, it would have stripped licensed hospitals and care providers of an affordable ability to treat and care for patients with actual pain needs. That means fewer patients with chronic conditions and traumatic injuries would have access to affordable medications, hindering the healing process.
The Minnesota Legislature was right to let the opioid distribution tax fail. Hopefully, as they reconsider ways to fight the opioid epidemic in the months to come, they will look into more efficient solutions, including increased opioid education, addressing over prescribing and supporting more non-opioid treatment alternatives.