“We urge Massachusetts voters to vote no on Question 1. Its passage would result in a substantial reduction in funding for substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery programs that are desperately needed. If that occurs, there will be increased pressure on an already fragile health care system including back-ups in hospital emergency departments,” said Lynn Nicholas, President and CEO of the MHA.
More than 150 organizations have now joined the No on 1 campaign to get the word out about the disastrous consequences of a repeal of the alcohol sales tax. In addition to a large number of healthcare groups, the coalition includes business associations, unions, employee assistance plans and civic organizations.
The large number of health-related organizations in the coalition reflects a growing understanding of the costs and consequences of drug and alcohol addiction on the state’s healthcare system.
According to a new study by University of Florida researchers, raising taxes on alcohol has a positive effect on a range of safety and public health outcomes. Drunk driving deaths, sexually transmitted infections, violence and crime all decline following increases in alcohol taxes, they wrote in the American Journal of Public Health. “In most developed countries, alcohol is second only to tobacco as a consumer product that causes death (approximately 85,000 alcohol-related deaths per year in the United States alone),” they wrote.
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