Opioid epidemic

Why states might start taxing opioids

Illustration of a prescription pill bottle with a black and white dollar bill as the label.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The next wave of state actions against the opioid crisis may focus on taxing them — depending on the outcome of an industry lawsuit against New York, the first state to try it.

Between the lines: Most of the bills that have been proposed would tax opioid painkillers and use the money for addiction treatment and prevention. But the health care industry argues that they're bad policy and, at least in the New York law's case, illegal. That case will be tested when oral arguments in the lawsuit begin Monday.

Trump: Deal with China on fentanyl a "game changer"

Containers of heroin and fentanyl
Fentanyl is an opioid drug more potent than heroin. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump tweeted this morning that China's commitment to curtail fentanyl exports to the U.S. will have "incredible" results, although China has made a similar pledge before and experts say tackling the issue is complicated.

Between the lines: If China does take meaningful steps to crack down on fentanyl coming into the U.S., it could reduce the supply of the powerful drug in the U.S. Fentanyl, which is more potent than heroin, is a major contributor to opioid overdose deaths.

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