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State's opioid impact fee produces desired results

Delaware Public Media

The new opioid impact fee created by the Delaware lawmakers last year is paying dividend collects.

The fee has brought almost $500,000 for addiction treatment and prevention services this year.


The fee comes from charging drug makers one penny for every morphine milligram equivalent of any brand-name opioid dispensed in the state and one-quarter for every MME of their generic opioids sold in Delaware.

The state began assessing the fee earlier this year.  As of last week, invoices were sent to 41 companies totalling over $547,000 with more than $483,000 received in payments for third quarter 2019 invoices.

State Senator Stephanie Hansen (D-Middletown) sponsored the bill, and she explains they are still determining what to do with the money.

"The decision on where the funding is going to go is going to be made by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services with information and advice from the Behavioral Health Consortium, the Overdose System of Care, and the Addiction and Action Committee," said Hansen. "That's the group that's going to be making the decisions on where the specific money goes."

Hansen adds the money will be distributed in the form of grants, loans, and contracts for particular opioid addiction prevention, inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, and facilities.

It will also go to services related for treatment for the uninsured and underinsured and emergency assistance related to prescription opioids like naloxone.

Hansen is pleased the impact fee is working. 


“I’m absolutely thrilled the nation’s first, successful opioid impact fee is working as designed," said Hansen. "The pharmaceutical companies that created the addiction crisis are finally being held accountable and soon we will be using the money we collect to fund new tools and resources capable of breaking the cycle of abuse, addiction and death that has gripped this state for too long.”

Companies refusing to pay the fee, can be charged a penalty of up $100 a day or 10 percent of the total impact fee due, whichever is greater.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.
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