Assemblymember Kevin McCarty Announces Legislation to Tackle California’s Opioid Addiction Epidemic

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento), today announced legislation to expand intervention and rehabilitation services for those impacted by the growing opioid and heroin addiction epidemic in California.

McCarty’s AB 1512 would impose a one cent per milligram surcharge on prescription opioids to fund county drug addiction prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs. This surcharge would be placed on opioid prescription wholesalers, not directly on consumers. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 out of 4 heroin users began their addiction by abusing prescription drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that up to 25% of people who use prescription pain pills over the long term become addicted to these medications.  The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) found that in 2013 alone, 11,683 people, or 32 people a day, were treated in California emergency rooms for non-fatal overdoses and other opioid-related conditions. Emergency rooms across the state have found themselves flooded with opioid-related patient emergencies, increasing healthcare costs, placing additional financial burdens on taxpayers and reducing overall access to emergency healthcare.

In 2014, CDPH found that 2,024 Californians died of prescription opioid overdoses. Heroin deaths have continued to increase steadily by 67% since 2006 (with a 2014 rate of 1.4 per 100,000) and account for a growing share of the total opioid related deaths. McCarty’s legislation would provide critical resources needed to help end California’s opioid addiction epidemic.

“California’s opioid epidemic has cost state taxpayers millions and the lives of too many of our sons and daughters,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento). “We must do more to help these individuals find hope and sobriety. This plan will provide counties with critical resources needed to curb the deadly cycle of opioid and heroin addiction in California.”

Similar legislation has been previously introduced in the United States Senate and in several state legislatures including Connecticut, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

Social Media: @AsmKevinMcCarty, #AB1512, #OpioidEpidemic, #Addiction

Kevin McCarty represents California’s 7th Assembly District, which include the cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento and unincorporated Sacramento County. McCarty serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.