Boston considering 2% tax on alcohol to fund treatment programs

22News has been bringing you continuing coverage for months on the growing opioid epidemic, and efforts in Massachusetts and elsewhere to combat it.

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Siblings, spouses, children, parents, and friends. Americans in every type of neighborhood are losing their lives to addiction at a growing pace. And leaders at every level are looking for solutions to save them, and ways to pay for it.

The city of Boston is considering a 2% tax on all alcohol sales at liquor stores and bars and restaurants. That money would be used to fund substance abuse treatment and prevention programs in response to the opioid crisis in Massachusetts and across New England.

“Two percent? What’s two percent on a six pack of beer? They have to come up with the money from somewhere. That to me just seems like an easy way to get the money,” said Rachael Kaplan from Chicopee.

The Boston Herald reported the tax could generate an estimated $20 million dollars to address addiction. A Hampshire County man told 22News addicts and their families are in desperate need of help; he lost his own brother last year after a long fight toward sobriety.

“It’s everywhere. They’re creepy. He would go to an AA meeting and get out there were individuals outside the meeting waiting and selling to these AA participants,” said David Farnham from South Hadley.

But no support from the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. They released a statement earlier this year saying, “Raising the tax on a glass of wine or a bottle of beer is not going to solve the problem.’

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