Democratic State Assemblymember Kevin McCarty of Sacramento says opioid addiction is an epidemic in California.
"I have friends and family members who have had problems with addiction. Nobody is immune to this," says McCarty.
His bill would impose a one-cent per milligram surcharge on prescription opioids. Proceeds would then be used to pay for county drug addiction prevention programs. McCarty says opioid-related hospital emergencies are hurting society.
"This impacts certainly our healthcare system, there's a cost for taxpayers, there's an impact on our hospitals and it frankly devastates families," says McCarty.
In 2014, 2,024 Californians died of prescription opioid overdoses, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The department says in 2013, more than 30 people a day were treated in California ERs for non-fatal overdoses and other opioid-related conditions.
McCarty says if enacted, it would be the first such bill in the country. Pharmaceutical companies have fought similar bills in Connecticut, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.