Elizabeth Warren discusses opioid plan during visit to West Virginia

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KERMIT, W.Va. (AP) - UPDATE: 05/10/19 2:10 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says her tax plan to address the nation's prescription pill addiction crisis would remove the middleman and instead send funding directly from the federal government to affected communities.

Warren detailed her proposal Friday to a crowd at a fire station in Kermit, West Virginia. The town near the Kentucky border has sued five drug wholesalers to try to recoup the costs of dealing with opioid abuse.

The Massachusetts senator is proposing to spend $100 billion over 10 years on battling addiction. Her plan is for a 2% tax on personal income above $50 million. Warren drew loud applause throughout her speech, especially when she told the crowd, "I'm tired of freeloading billionaires."

West Virginia has by far the nation's highest overdose death rate.


ORIGINAL STORY: 05/10/19 12 A.M.

Elizabeth Warren is visiting some of the places hit hardest by the opioid epidemic, pledging to fight the nation's painkiller addiction crisis by taxing the wealthiest U.S. households.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate plans to deliver her message Friday to the small West Virginia town of Kermit. West Virginia has by far the nation's highest overdose death rate.

Warren will be visiting a fire department a few blocks from a now-closed pharmacy where wholesale drug distributor McKesson shipped an average of nearly 10,000 hydrocodone pills per day in 2007.

A decade later, the town sued McKesson and four other drug wholesalers in an attempt to recoup the costs of dealing with opioid abuse.

Warren also has stops planned later Friday in Chillicothe and Columbus, Ohio.

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