Long Island Leaders Voice Support for Attorney General James’ ‘HealNY’ Statewide Tour, Delivering Funds to Combat Opioid Crisis

10 mins read
Heroin, injection, old spoon,injection needle on dark wooden black background. heroin is hard drugs. Narcotic Recreational drugs concept.

Elected Officials and Advocates Across Long Island Praise AG James’ Continued

Efforts to Deliver Funds for Opioid Abatement to Nassau and Suffolk Counties

NEW YORK – After New York Attorney General Letitia James began her statewide ‘HealNY’ tour today and started delivering the first of up to $1.5 billion to combat the opioid epidemic, elected officials and community leaders across Long Island came out and expressed their support for her work delivering funds to Nassau and Suffolk counties.  

long island pic opioids

“Thank you to Attorney General James for her dedication to this issue and for securing this money so we can combat the opioid epidemic here on Long Island,” said U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice. “This crisis has touched all of our lives. We have lost far too many friends, neighbors, and loved ones to opioid overdoses in Nassau County. And with opioid addiction on the rise as a result of the pandemic, we need this investment now more than ever. With dedicated partners like Attorney General James, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, and Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, I am eager to see the progress we can make locally, and I will continue working to combat this crisis in Congress.”

“The people at the Thrive Center are saving lives, plain and simple,” said U.S. Representative Tom Suozzi. “Today’s announcement of $1.5 billion to help New York state fight the good fight against the opioid epidemic will go a long way in ensuring that community outreach and recovery centers, such as Thrive, can continue to save lives.”

“Families and communities across New York state continue to feel the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic,” said State Senator Kevin Thomas. “Drug manufacturers and distributors continuously chose to put profits over human lives, creating and prolonging this public health crisis. After years of struggle and anguish, we are finally seeing the first signs of real accountability for the pharmaceutical industry’s role in the crisis, thanks to the tireless efforts of New York Attorney General Letitia James. This landmark funding will strengthen opioid prevention, treatment, and education efforts across Nassau County and New York state. I thank Attorney General James for her continued dedication to fighting for New Yorkers and the public good.”

“For too long the opioid crisis ravaged Long Island communities and families,” said State Senator Jim Gaughran. “Thanks to Attorney General Tish James, New York is fighting back, with Attorney General James securing multiple settlements for taxpayers totaling up to $1.5 billion. This funding will be critical to combating the opioid epidemic and will support treatment and recovery efforts to fight the opioid crisis. Thank you, Attorney General James.”

“The crisis of addiction affects every family, school, and community on Long Island, leaving profound devastation in its wake, and today we understand that this crisis has been heavily fueled by greedy corporations that put profits ahead of people’s lives by pushing highly addictive opioid drugs on patients who were misled about the safety of what they were prescribed,” said State Senator Anna M. Kaplan. “Attorney General Tish James has been relentless in her effort to hold these companies accountable for what they’ve done to our communities and our families, and I applaud her for the historic settlements that will bring upwards of $1.5 billion back to New York to fund critically needed treatment and prevention services for struggling New Yorkers.”

“I want to thank Attorney General Tish James for ensuring that these significant settlement funds are going exactly where they should be — to assist victims of addiction and those in recovery,” said State Senator Phil Boyle.

“This important funding will bolster our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, while providing countless New Yorkers who are battling with addiction the help, support, and treatment they need,” said State Senator Anthony Palumbo.

“Addiction continues to devastate families and communities in every corner of our state, and these issues were only exacerbated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Senator Alexis Weik. “My colleagues and I have advocated for opioid settlement funds to be directed toward addiction and recovery services, and I’m glad to see these much-needed funds are being allocated for programs to help those who are struggling right here in Suffolk County.”

“Thank you to Attorney General James for securing funds that will now help combat a devastating crisis that has ravaged our communities,” said State Assemblymember Fred W. Thiele, Jr. “This is a major victory for all of the people of New York state and comes at a time when we are making great strides to hold the opioid industry accountable for their role in this epidemic.”

“A heartfelt thank you to Attorney General Tish James for all the work she has done to help combat the opioid crisis that has hurt so many,” said State Assemblymember Phil Ramos. “This is a major victory for Long Island, New York state, and for those who believe in justice.”

“For decades, our local communities have endured so much pain and suffering resulting from the harmful effects of the opioid crisis,” said State Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre. “I applaud and thank Attorney General Letitia James for securing this vital settlement funding and ensuring that every dollar will go directly towards efforts to fight and ultimately defeat this epidemic that continues to ravage individuals and families across our state.”

“It is good to see real dollars that had been profited by companies who shamefully ignited the opioid epidemic actually being repurposed to prevent and treat addiction right here in Nassau County where we have been hit especially hard,” said State Assemblymember Charles D. Lavine. “Too many have lost their lives resulting from aggressive marketing of prescription painkillers. I continue to commend Attorney General James for her outstanding work in making this a reality.”

“For the countless families who have suffered the tragic loss of losing loved ones to opioid addiction, I commend Attorney General James for including Long Island in allocating the first $1.5 billion,” said State Assemblymember Judy Griffin, member, Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. “I applaud her success in reaching huge settlements from the companies that egregiously caused and profited from the opioid epidemic. Thankfully, we passed legislation this year to ensure that these funds can only be used to mitigate the destruction this epidemic has caused in communities.”

“Addiction knows no socioeconomic boundaries or cares what zip code you live in,” said State Assemblymember Gina L. Silitti. “This is a transformative amount of money for Long Island. This is not band-aid money, but real resources that could make a real difference in people’s lives. I am so grateful to Attorney General Tish James for her tireless work and humbled to stand with her, and all my colleagues from both counties, here today.”

“We are grateful to Attorney General James for securing a settlement with robust funding that will go directly to treatment, prevention, and education,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “In partnership with the Office of the Attorney General and Suffolk County, Nassau County has been committed to holding the various manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid crisis accountable. We must and we will continue our multi-pronged assault on the opioid crisis to decrease overdoses, provide pathways to recovery, and end this epidemic, once and for all.”

“While these settlement agreements can never bring back the loved ones that have been lost to this terrible epidemic, these funds will have a significant impact on preventing future tragedies as we work to end this crisis once and for all,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “I would like to thank Attorney General James for her commitment to holding accountable the various manufacturers and distributors who contributed to the devastation caused by these dangerous drugs and delivering these critical dollars that will go towards stopping further death and destruction.”

Related News:   Man engaging in lewd act in Korea Town leaves DNA evidence on woman's back

“Fighting the opioid epidemic is a critical mission for local governments. The funds secured by the settlements negotiated by Attorney General James will go a long way towards ensuring that we can fight to protect the victims of the epidemic,” said Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman. “A recent implementation of a special revenue fund in Nassau County to combat opioid addiction will require a thoughtful, data-driven approach to provide the best outcomes for the county’s long-term fiscal health and our local economy. As local government leaders, it is our job to protect our residents and taxpayers. I thank Attorney General James for her leadership and securing these settlements, which will make a real difference for so many.”

“The opioid epidemic has had a tragic impact on Long Island families and the Nassau District Attorney’s office has worked alongside our partners in law enforcement, government, and in communities across Nassau County for years to turn the tide of this devastating cycle of addiction,” said Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce A. Smith. “I commend Attorney General James for her extraordinary efforts to hold manufacturers and distributors responsible for their roles in this crisis and for securing these much needed funds to begin to heal our communities ravaged by this terrible epidemic.”

“I was proud to spearhead the legislation that commenced litigation against those who caused and perpetuated this crisis,” said Suffolk County Presiding Officer Rob Calarco. “This historic settlement and the others that will follow will not bring back those victims of this epidemic, but it is a significant step forward in facilitating justice for the families they left behind. I applaud Attorney General Tish James for her leadership and commitment to holding these companies accountable, and I look forward to utilizing these dollars to help those who need it most.”

“There isn’t a judgment, settlement, or agreement amount that will ever compensate our families and communities for the direct and indirect impacts these drugs have had. However, the families and friends of those who have passed from opioid addition should take comfort in knowing, from this settlement, their struggle will support the path toward recovery for others,” said Suffolk County Deputy Presiding Officer Kara Hahn, who has spearheaded several initiatives to reduce overdose deaths in the county. “I thank Attorney General James for her tenacity in perusing justice for those who have suffered because of an opioid addition and for New York’s communities that were forced to deal with its tragic consequences.”

“Although we cannot bring back our loved ones lost to the opioid epidemic, we must continue to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in this crisis,” said Suffolk County Majority Leader Susan A. Berland. “I applaud Attorney General James for working with the Suffolk County Legislature and securing the $1.5 billion settlement for New York state. These funds are greatly needed to continue providing services to those affected by this epidemic and to help heal our Suffolk County families.” 

“The travesty of addiction, lives lost, and associated crime is directly tied to the drug manufacturers of opioids,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon. “Generations of people will and have been hurt by drug manufacturers. I am truly thankful to Attorney General Letitia James for her steadfast pursuit of justice that has resulted in this massive settlement — and the funding to help reverse the opioid crisis and heal New York.” 

“By securing these large settlements and ensuring their rapid disbursal, Attorney General James is delivering a huge boost to the programs and professionals that are on the front lines helping people struggling with the disease of addiction,” said Babylon Town Supervisor & Suffolk County Supervisors Association Chairman Rich Schaffer. “With an increase in overdose deaths in Suffolk County during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no time to waste in getting this money out to fight the scourge of addiction that has plagued our communities.”

“I am grateful for the work of Attorney General Letitia James who has held pharmaceutical companies accountable for the part they have played in the opioid epidemic,” said Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker. “The epidemic continues to have a detrimental impact on our county. As the chair of Suffolk County’s Addiction Prevention and Support Advisory Panel, I am proud to stand with state and county representatives, advocates, and treatment providers as the first part of the settlement money is presented to our local addiction advocates and treatment providers.”

“I thank Attorney General Tish James for making sure that this critical funding is to be placed in a dedicated lock box for education, treatment, and relapse prevention,” said Suffolk Legislator Leslie Kennedy.

“As we all know, the opioid epidemic has ravaged communities all across this nation and Suffolk is no different. The effects have touched the lives of our neighbors, our friends, and, for many, our own families,” said Suffolk Legislator Jason Richberg. “The news of these settlements and the funds they’ll bring are a win for our residents and for the future of Suffolk. This money will allow us, as legislators, to be more creative with how we address issues of drug abuse and get it into the hands of our incredible non-profit agencies and first responders that are on the front lines of the fight. I’d like to thank Attorney General James for all of her work negotiating the settlements that I believe will help countless Suffolk County residents change their lives for the better and make Suffolk a healthier place to live for everyone.”

“As Tim’s mom, I am the voice for both of us,” said Teri Kroll, Thomas Hope Foundation. “We know the need for advocating for the needs surrounding Substance Use Disorder, especially when caused through the over prescribing of highly addictive opioids. Tim and I and many other advocates would like to see this money distributed throughout the state for use to enhance education, prevention, and treatment. We need to look at the entire infrastructure from educating people who work in this field to treating the disease; treatment for all afflicted with the effects of this disease, from infancy to seniors, at the hands of the pharmaceutical companies. We must include the entire community.”

“While there’s no amount of money that will bring back those we have lost to opioids and no amount of money that will erase the pain that so many families continue to endure today, these settlement dollars will help ensure safer, happier, and healthier communities going forward,” said Jeffrey L. Reynolds, president & CEO, Family and Children’s Association (FCA). “Long Island has been devastated by opioids and remediating the damage caused by opioid manufacturers, distributors, and marketers begins with proper investments in prevention, treatment, and recovery programs, along with continued services for families impacted by the epidemic. We at FCA thank New York Attorney General Letitia James for taking on this fight, securing these landmark settlements, and ensuring that the funds are spent in a way that respect those we have lost, support those who are still struggling with addiction, and bring us closer to an end to the opioid crisis.”

“The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence is grateful to New York Attorney General Letitia James for championing justice on behalf of all New Yorkers adversely impacted by the opioid pandemic,” said Steve Chassman, executive director, Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. “As we collectively work to heal New York from the unscrupulous practices of several manufacturers and distributors of opioids, we thank Attorney General James for her leadership in directing these settlement resources to the individuals, families, and communities that are in desperate need of treatment, education, and support. These resources will prove imperative to adequately heal New York state from the ravages that the opioid crisis has inflicted on too many individuals and families.”