There is a growing epidemic around the globe of opioid use, addiction, and overdose. With an increased need for drug detox and rehabilitation, this is not the time for resources to be cut back, but that is exactly what might happen if the new proposed tax plan goes into effect. 

The effect that it could have on the soaring rates of addiction may make it nearly impossible for those who need drug rehabilitation services to get them. According to public health officials, the new tax cuts proposed by the Senate might be a recipe for drug-addiction disaster. 

While most people are considering how the tax plan might put more money into their pockets every month, hidden deep inside the bill is something that will likely have a huge impact on drug recovery programs. If the plan goes through, then millions of Americans will no longer have the necessary access to either substance abuse programs or mental health services that they need. If people lose their insurance due to taking out the clause of everyone being taxed for not carrying health insurance, then there will be millions of people cut off from any alcohol- or drug-related illnesses and recovery programs.

Although the plan is still in progress, the Senate is at work trying to rush through legislation before the end of the year. In the midst of the opioid epidemic, and with some of the highest recorded rates of alcohol addiction statistics the nation has ever known, the legislation to undo Obamacare has many in the addiction world fearful it will cause something like a death spiral. Those who need addiction programs will no longer have access to care they need. 

If the proposed tax plan goes through, there are estimates that as many as four million people would be left without healthcare for addiction and mental disorder health. As it is now, people are required to carry health insurance or face tax penalties. But the Senate’s repeal of Obamacare would leave millions without necessary care. Additionally, it is estimated that over the next ten years and due to the changes in the tax code, as many as 13 million will end up without access to healthcare. If the tax plan is passed, there is likely to be a 10% hike in health insurance premiums, which will put a huge hardship on families and the individuals who need the services the most. 

Statistics show that if those 13 million people lose their healthcare coverage, an estimated third of them - or four million people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol - will have no chance to get the help that they need from alcohol addiction treatment centres. Since drug and alcohol addiction appears to be concentrated on lower-income individuals, if they no longer have access to healthcare their chances of recovery are very slim. Cutting out those who need it most, repealing Obamacare through the tax plan agenda would leave an “underserved” population completely “unserved.” 

To add insult to injury, the Senate bill proposes to add an additional 16% to taxes on alcohol over the next two years. While it’s likely to dissuade people from buying alcohol, for those who are addicted it just means they will have to go to greater lengths to gain the alcohol they desire. It won’t curb their appetite; it will make them turn to other means to find a way to feed their addiction - which is never a good thing. 

Although having more money to take home with your paycheck sounds like an attractive factor for the average American, what it could mean is a total disaster for drug- and alcohol-addicted Americans who will be left with no resources like Aurora Recovery Centre, to get the recovery they need to be productive in society. Raising the cost of alcohol will only further exacerbate the problem and lead to a spiral for those who are addicted. It probably will not stop them from getting access to alcohol as it is intended. This means the plan might stop them from getting their hands on services they need, but it won’t do anything to keep addicts away from drugs and alcohol.