Governor Murphy's latest round of "tax anything and everything" includes a budget proposal to tax legal opioids. The budget proposal projects an additional $21.5 million from a tax on pharma companies, which manufacture and distribute the legal drugs.

Thankfully, Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz spotted the tax in the mountain of paperwork and called the Governor out. She went so far as to call the tax immoral. The bottom line is that many New Jerseyans are using opioids legally and safely managing pain from long term conditions and to recovery from surgery.

The Governor seems poised to conflate the issue of the fight against addiction with the legal use and production of opioids. Big pharma, despite the incredible innovation that has allowed so many people across the nation to return to normal life activities, are an easy target.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle play the 'blame game'. People get addicted for a variety of reasons and states like New Jersey look to punish those with the deepest pockets. Other than this solution to the epidemic being far from effective because it has nothing to do with the root cause of addiction plaguing our society, but the 'punishment' will create new victims.

As Munoz states effectively, name a tax on business that wasn't passed on to the consumer? So the patient who is managing pain, acting legally and not in danger of an out-of-control addiction, will pay more for the privilege of living a normal life.

Here's our message to the governor: leave patients alone. Cut spending, waste and abuse of power in Trenton and actually help NJ become affordable for those who need it the most.

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