A bill that would place new taxes on wine and beer sales would raise $260 million annually, specifically for addiction prevention and recovery programs.
That bill, introduced by Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-34), would add 3 cents to the price of a 12 ounce can of beer and 2 cents per glass of wine. Ten cents would be added to the price of a shot.
“Substance abuse of any kind is deeply troubling, but addiction to alcohol has proven particularly damaging, not only because of its corrosive effects on physical and mental development, but also because of its role as a gateway drug,” DenDekker said.
DenDekker said the revenue generated by the tax would “literally double” the availability of existing programs for treatment.
“Alcohol users, particularly at younger ages, frequently try other controlled substances while under the influence of alcohol," DenDekker said. "Predictably, patients addicted to opioids, cocaine and other mind-altering substances began their history of substance abuse with alcohol, since it is the most commonly available and society acceptable drug Americans are exposed to. Thus, I believe that alcohol is the gateway drug, and any serious initiative that aims to curb the effects of substance abuse must place alcohol use and addiction as a top priority.”
The bill comes as lawmakers are also debating whether to legalize marijuana in the state, with revenue proposed to bolster mass transit in New York City, aid communities impacted by tough drug laws, and to study the effects of cannabis use.