AG James Continues Statewide ‘HealNY’ Tour to Deliver Money to Cities
and Counties Ravaged by Opioid Epidemic, Stops in Albany County Today
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today continued her statewide ‘HealNY’ tour of New York state with a stop in Albany County today, where she announced that she will deliver up to $32 million to the Capital Region to combat the opioid epidemic. The funds come from different settlements Attorney General James has negotiated following her March 2019 lawsuit against the various manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid crisis. Attorney General James’ tour will make stops in dozens of New York counties throughout the month of October, with up to $1.5 billion in funds going to counties across New York state.
“For more than 20 years, the Capital Region has seen the dangerous and deadly results of opioid addiction, but, today, we are bringing good news to the area by announcing that we will deliver up $32 million to the Capital Region to combat the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General James. “With these funds, we can heal New York and turn the tide on the opioid crisis by investing in opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery. While no amount of money will ever make up for all those we have lost to this lethal addiction, these funds will be vital in helping to prevent future deaths.”
Attorney General James announces that she will deliver millions of dollars to Albany County
and other counties in the Capital Region to help local residents recover from the opioid epidemic.
The lawsuit Attorney General James filed in 2019 was, at the time, the nation’s most extensive lawsuit against the various manufacturers and distributors of opioids. These manufacturers and distributors were responsible for heavily marketing opioids to doctors, hospitals, health care systems, and others, which led to the over prescription of the drugs across New York and the rest of the nation over the last two decades. The manufacturers named in Attorney General James’ complaint included Purdue Pharma and its affiliates, as well as members of the Sackler Family (owners of Purdue) and trusts they control; Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its affiliates (including its parent company Johnson & Johnson); Mallinckrodt LLC and its affiliates; Endo Health Solutions and its affiliates; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and its affiliates; and Allergan Finance, LLC and its affiliates. The distributors named in the complaint were McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation, and Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc.
Last month, a settlement with Endo was announced that has already delivered $50 million to New York state and Nassau and Suffolk counties to combat the opioid crisis and remove the opioid manufacturer from New York’s ongoing opioid trial.
Also, last month, a settlement that secured more than $4.5 billion — at least $200 million of which will be earmarked for New York — from the Sackler family and foundations that they control, ends the Sacklers’ ability to manufacture opioids ever again, and will shut down Purdue Pharma was announced.
In June, a settlement that ended Johnson & Johnson’s sale of opioids nationwide and that will deliver $230 million to New York alone was announced. The deals with Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen have a global value of approximately $26 billion.
The cases against Mallinckrodt and Rochester Drug Cooperative are now moving separately through U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
The trial against the two remaining defendants — Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and Allergan Finance — is currently underway and continues in state court.
Pursuant to the new law establishing the opioid settlement fund, all funds collected by the state from opioid settlements or litigation victories will be allocated specifically for abatement efforts in communities devastated by the opioid epidemic and will not go towards the state’s general fund.
Every region in the state will receive millions of dollars for prevention, treatment, and recovery programs to combat the opioid crisis.
The figures listed below represent the minimum and maximum amounts each county can receive from the settlements with Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health, Amerisource Bergen, and Endo. The more localities across the state that agree to the terms of these different settlements, the more each locality is eligible to receive. The figures below do not include payments from Purdue Pharma or the Sackler family, as the regional split for those payments are still being finalized. Those funds, as well as any funds from future or ongoing litigation, would be in addition to what is listed below.
Capital Region Total: $17,812,303.23 – $32,524,114.04*
* In addition to sum total of counties, a regional share is also being allocated here.
** Not all funds going to the county. Also includes funds going directly to a major city within the county.
“The opioid epidemic is one of the greatest health crises of our lifetime that devastates communities across New York state every day,” said State Senator Michelle Hinchey. “We know that people in need of treatment for substance use disorder are significantly better served when those services are located in their communities, near their families and support systems. Using opioid settlement funds to expand local treatment opportunities in areas that have been ravaged by drug overdoses, like the city of Amsterdam, is exactly what we need to be doing to ensure that our residents have access to quality, life-saving care. I thank Attorney General Letitia James for her dedication and partnership to end the opioid epidemic in New York and our providers at St. Mary’s Hospital, where the existing rehabilitation services are a lifeline to so many people and families. I’m proud to work with my colleagues in government, and our health care professionals, to significantly increase community-based recovery programs and close the existing care gaps in our small cities and rural areas.”
“The opioid epidemic has devasted our communities across New York state,” said State Senator Neil Breslin. “The ‘HealNY’ tour is desperately needed, and the funding is critical for the reduction of opioid use in our state. Attorney General James has been relentless in her battle against opioid use and holding the pharmaceutical companies responsible.”
“Attorney General Letitia James continues to stand up for all New Yorkers every day, including for the thousands of families and individuals who have been touched personally by this country’s opioid epidemic,” said State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “Our communities, especially in upstate New York, have been hit hard by an out of control opioid crisis that has stolen lives and stretched our rehabilitation system to its limits. Thanks to Attorney General James’ efforts and litigation, pharmaceutical companies that exacerbated this crisis are finally paying up — and these funds will go a long way towards directly helping our communities recover from the opioid crisis.”
“I would like to express my gratitude for a job well done by New York Attorney General Letitia James as it relates to the agreements reached with the large multinational players that were involved in fueling the opioid and heroin crises,” said State Assemblymember John McDonald. “As one of the few practicing professionals in health care that is a member of the Legislature, I am keenly aware of the practices that fueled the crisis and, as a former mayor and current legislator, I am even more familiar with the impacts this crisis has had on individuals, their families, and our communities. The up to $1.5 billion secured by Attorney General James will be spent wisely and appropriately in the areas of education, treatment, and recovery in accordance with legislation I sponsored to make sure there is a dedicated fund for the money secured. As much as money will not bring back the lives lost nor heal the pain suffered, I am confident that appropriate use of the funding will help prevent more deaths and pain for many families.”
“I am pleased to join our outstanding attorney general, Letitia James, on her ‘HealNY’ tour here in the Capital Region,” said State Assemblymember Phil Steck. “This year, the New York state Assembly passed monumental legislation to ensure that any settlement funds New York state receives from unscrupulous opioid manufacturers are guaranteed to be spent on prevention and treatment and not used to float the state budget, nor replace the current level of funding the Office of Addiction Services and Supports receives. As chair of the Assembly committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, I am proud to have ushered this legislation through committee and to the floor. I want to thank Attorney General James and her office for all the time and work they put into negotiating these settlements, and I look forward to seeing these funds realized into additional treatment and support services for those with substance abuse disorders.”
“I’m proud that Albany County was one of the first in the state to take on manufacturers and distributors for the damage caused by highly addictive opioids. But to have an ally in Attorney General James, who hit the ground running with the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of New York once she took office, has helped to truly hold Big Pharma accountable,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “We lost nearly 100 Albany County residents in 2020 alone, as COVID-19 has thrown gasoline on the overdose fire. These settlements won’t bring back our loved ones, but the actions we’ve taken will change the way these companies do business, and this funding will be used for treatment, recovery, and education programs that can help prevent future tragedies.”
“The resources obtained from these settlements will go a long way in providing care for those laboring under addiction, and I am thankful to Attorney General James for continuing this fight for communities that need it most,” said Albany County District Attorney David Soares.
“The opioid epidemic has been devastating for our communities throughout Albany County,” said Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce. “The Albany County Legislature recognizes that in order to prevent more overdoses we need to be proactive. That’s why we’re working on legislation that would provide for the safe disposal of opioids. We need to make it harder for those who don’t need these drugs to get them, that’s the first step in tackling this epidemic. I am glad to see that these funds are going where they are needed the most.”
“I commend Attorney General James on her perseverance to hold the producers of opioids accountable for the torment caused to so many New York families and others,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple. “These settlements will undoubtedly save lives through education, awareness, and recovery efforts.”
“The opioid epidemic has impacted not only the individuals utilizing the drugs, but their families, friends, and the communities they live in, and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic we continue to live through today,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Our residents should not be left to fight this epidemic alone, and that is why I am extremely thankful Attorney General Letitia James has made it a focus of her tenure to hold drug companies accountable for their deceptive practices and is reinvesting those monies in the communities most affected by their malfeasance.”
“Amsterdam, like communities everywhere, has experienced far too many opioid-induced tragedies,” said Amsterdam Mayor Michael Cinquanti. “The funding made available via these settlements with opioid producers, which were negotiated by Attorney General James, will certainly help St. Mary’s strengthen its ability to enhance and sustain critical treatment strategies for those addicted to these dangerous drugs.”
“I would like to thank Attorney General Letitia James for giving back to the citizens of New York state with the opioid settlement funds. Albany County is grateful for her vision and her leadership,” said Albany Common Council President Corey Ellis.
“No county in New York has been immune from the reaches of the opioid crisis,” said Steven Acquario, executive director, New York State Association of Counties. “As New Yorkers have struggled and so many have lost their lives, Big Pharma has profited enormously and without consequence. Thanks to Attorney General James’ tireless work, these companies are finally being held accountable and more than $1 billion will go directly into the communities and counties most impacted by this destruction.”
“We applaud the bold leadership of Attorney General James for holding opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable for their role in the epidemic of opioid overdose and addiction, and for ensuring that settlement dollars received by New York state are protected from the general fund and are used for their intended purpose,” said John Coppola, executive director, New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers (ASAP). “With these funds, we now have a realistic opportunity to strengthen our addiction service delivery system to a level where every New Yorker seeking help is able to access services and supports on demand.”
“The resources obtained from these settlements will go a long way in providing care for those laboring under addiction, and I am thankful to Attorney General James for continuing this fight for communities that need it most,” said Peter Gannon, president and CEO, United Way of the Greater Capital Region.
“We are honored to have New York Attorney General Letitia James visit Hope House’s Elizabeth House, a 16-bed, intensive residential program for women, located in Troy, New York,” said Kevin M, Connally, executive director, Hope House, Inc. “Attorney General James is visiting this program as part of her ‘HealNY’ tour’ where she will begin delivering up to $1.5 billion to combat the opioid epidemic. These funds have been collected from various opioid manufacturers and distributors that were responsible for the devastating opioid epidemic. We are grateful to Attorney General James for her tireless efforts to help New Yorkers battle the opioid epidemic, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly impacted those in need of quality treatment services.”
“I can say with confidence, if it were not for harm reduction and medication-assisted treatment, I would not be here to see today’s progress,” said Luke Grandis, upstate lead organizer, VOCAL-NY. “With a New Yorker dying every hour and 48 minutes, we urge Governor Hochul to sign the Overdose Prevention Package — but we can’t stop there. Attorney General James’ leadership securing over $1 billion dollars is a critical victory, so now our state can finally fund and scale-up harm reduction and evidence-based programs for Black, brown, and low-income communities that have been historically left behind.”
“We are so grateful to be here today with New York Attorney General Letitia James after her long and tenacious effort to ensure some reprieve for the lives lost and the families destroyed by the opioid epidemic,” said Dr. Angelia Smith-Wilson, executive director, Friends of Recovery – New York. “Friends of Recovery – New York represents the New York state recovery community comprised of people with lived experience and family members who have lost loved ones. We are so pleased that our efforts to safeguard funding coming into the state of New York is secured for addiction services and supports are being realized.”
“NYSNA applauds Attorney General Letitia James for making the corporations responsible for the opioid crisis pay, and for delivering settlement money to the communities hardest hit by the opioid crisis,” said Nancy Hagans, RN, president, New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA). “We know this money cannot bring back loved ones lost to opioid addiction, but we hope it can begin to heal the damage done. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased mental health strains and driven substance misuse and overdose deaths to new heights. As nurses, we appreciate every effort to reinvest in harm reduction programs and mental health care services in our communities.”
“St. Mary’s Healthcare is honored to have Attorney General Letitia James visit our site and, more specifically, our St. Mary’s Addiction Services,” said Kayla Egan, director of Behavioral Health, St. Mary’s Healthcare. “We are grateful to her and her team for advocating for our patients and treatment facilities through the opioid settlement and particularly for fighting to return this money to the agencies dedicated to treating these patients. Like many communities, we have been greatly affected by the opioid epidemic and this money can be used to expand our facility, which will allow us to expand our treatment capacity. We are proud of the work that we do at St. Mary’s Healthcare, and Attorney General Letitia James and her efforts will better ensure we are able to care for those affected by this epidemic.”
“Being raised in Albany’s inner-city communities my entire life and serving Albany for 40 years as a pastor and community advocate, I have seen firsthand the devastating toll that drugs have had on our families, and therefore our city,” said Pastor David Traynham, ALERT Partnership, Inc. “I appreciate the efforts that Attorney General Letitia James has led, securing these funds from those pharmaceutical companies that ‘helped’ spark addiction, many times leading to death. As hurtful as it has been to see the demise of some of my close childhood friends, the resources that our attorney general is now bringing to our region, gives us hope of eliminating the evil that has destroyed the fabric of our city through drug addiction, especially within our underserved communities.”
Separately, but related to her work on opioids, this past February, Attorney General James co-led a coalition of nearly every attorney general in the nation in delivering more than $573 million — more than $32 million of which was earmarked for New York state — toward opioid treatment and abatement in an agreement and consent judgment with McKinsey & Company.
In the Office of the New York Attorney General, this matter was led by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy, Senior Advisor and Special Counsel M. Umair Khan, and former Counsel for Opioids and Impact Litigation David Nachman. The settlements were also brought about by the work led by Senior Enforcement Counsel John Oleske and Assistant Attorney General Monica Hanna, as well as Assistant Attorneys General Conor Duffy, Carol Hunt, Diane Johnston, Leo O’Toole, Jeremy Pfetsch, Noah Popp, Michael Reisman, Lois Saldana, and Louis Testa; Project Attorneys Wil Handley, Stephanie Torre, and Eve Woodin; Paralegal Ketty Dautruche; Legal Assistant David Payne; Director of Research and Analytics Jonathan Werberg; Data Scientist Gautam Sisodia; Data Analyst Anushua Choudhury; Information Technology Specialists Hewson Chen and Paige Podolny; and E-Discovery Document Review Specialist Kristin Petrella.