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Attorney General James to Deliver Up to $95 Million to Hudson Valley Communities to Combat Opioid Crisis

AG James Continues Statewide ‘HealNY’ Tour to Deliver Money to Cities and Counties Ravaged by Opioid Epidemic, Stops in Westchester County Today

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today continued her statewide ‘HealNY’ tour of New York state with a stop in Westchester County today, where she announced that she will deliver up to $95 million for the Hudson Valley 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.

“After more than two decades of having lethal opioids spread across every county of the Hudson Valley, today we are helping this community heal by announcing we will be delivering up to $95 million to invest in opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery,” said Attorney General James. “These funds will help the Hudson Valley turn the tide on the opioid crisis. While no amount of money will ever make up for all the lives lost, these funds will be vital in helping to prevent future deaths.”

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Attorney General James announces that she will deliver millions of dollars to Westchester County and other counties in the Hudson Valley to help residents to 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 July, a settlement with McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen that will deliver up to $1 billion to New York state to combat the opioid epidemic 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.

Hudson Valley: $52,411,981.11 – $95,137,603.31**

• Dutchess County: $3,682,781.87 – $6,433,863.62 • Orange County: $4,482,643.73 – $7,740,237.22 • Putnam County: $1,023,844.65 – $1,767,885.42 • Rockland County: $2,662,956.35 – $4,598,160.18 • Sullivan County: $1,631,936.72 – $2,817,885.63 • Ulster County: $2,128,241.63 – $3,674,861.55 • Westchester County: $10,933,808.12 – $19,142,970.03***

* 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.

“I want to thank Attorney General Tish James for fighting to secure these funds. This year, the State Senate and State Assembly, working in partnership with the attorney general, passed legislation to guarantee that these funds from opioid settlements are used for the development of new services and support,” said State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “We can’t bring back the tragic losses experienced by too many families in Westchester and across New York state, but we can and will seek justice. In addition to these efforts, the Senate Majority has passed impactful legislation, based upon input received by the Joint Senate Task Force on Opioids, Addiction, & Overdose Prevention that I convened, to support those fighting addiction and expand government services. I will continue to work with my partners in state government to provide the prevention and addiction services people need and deserve to end this scourge.”

“The opioid epidemic has devastated our communities, robbing us of loved ones, family members, friends, and neighbors,” said U.S. Representative Mondaire Jones. “And while thousands lost their lives to this epidemic — nearly 100,000 just last year — Big Pharma got richer, making billions off the addiction, overdose, and death of far too many. For far too long, they got away with this, without ever taking responsibility for the harm they caused — until now. By taking decisive action to hold opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable for the role they played in creating this crisis, Attorney General James has secured up to $1.5 billion in settlements, money that will go directly towards combating — and ending — this epidemic, once and for all. I’m thrilled that as part of her hard-won settlements, Westchester County will receive up to $19 million in funding. Together, we’re going to end this epidemic and enable families throughout New York’s 17th congressional district, and beyond, to finally heal.”

“The opioid crisis has impacted every corner of our community in Westchester. Opioid manufacturers and distributors have played a major role in enabling this nationwide epidemic, and I am grateful to Attorney General James for standing up against these companies and fighting for those affected,” said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. “Thanks to the dedication and hard work of Attorney General James and her office, New York will be receiving up to $1.5 billion to address the opioid epidemic. These funds will allow us to assist the communities that have been devastated the most by this crisis and put our state on a path to recovery.”

“The delivery and distribution of up to $1.5 billion dollars in New York to fight and treat substance use disorder is great news because for too long the fight in the ongoing opioid crisis has been underfunded,” said State Senator Pete Harckham. “These additional resources will make a significant difference for prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery services. Attorney General James deserves our thanks for her leadership in securing these settlements and ensuring that this funding is utilized to save lives and ‘heal New York.’”  

“The impact of opioid abuse on individuals and families is devastating,” said State Senator Shelley Mayer. “I applaud Attorney General James for holding manufacturers and distributors accountable, and I am pleased the money from these settlements will soon begin to heal communities across New York state, including right here at St. Vincent’s Hospital.”

“The opioid epidemic has been destroying lives and families throughout New York for over a decade, and I am relieved to see that the pharmaceutical companies that have perpetrated this epidemic are finally being made to pay,” said State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick. “I’m grateful to Attorney General James for prosecuting these cases and winning massive settlements to help our communities fight back against the scourge of opioids plaguing New Yorkers. Nothing will bring back the lives of those we have already lost, but at least we can use these funds to help more New Yorkers overcome addiction and begin recovery.”

“New York's recent opioid settlement is a gamechanger for the many families across the state who've watched their loved ones cycle in and out of addiction while Big Pharma made a literal killing,” said State Senator James Skoufis. “I am enormously grateful to Attorney General James for holding drug makers' feet to the fire and for her commitment to accountability on behalf of our constituents.”

“I am honored to stand with Attorney General James and my fellow colleagues to announce this much needed funding for Westchester County to combat the opioid epidemic,” said State Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow. “This capital will undoubtedly help in all efforts to reduce addiction, as well as reduce the number of deaths by providing additional programs, training, and resources to the community.”

“I thank Attorney General James for her fierce determination to hold Purdue Pharma and other manufacturers and distributors accountable for their reprehensible role in the opioid epidemic,” said State Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson. “The losses that so many suffered as a result of their astonishing greed can never be repaid, but I am pleased that these funds will go directly to help those individuals and communities that were most impacted by their actions.”

“Opioid addiction is one of the great tragedies of our time,” said State Assemblymember Steve Otis. “Settlement funds will now provide funding from the companies that benefited from opioid sales to support programs to combat addiction, foster rehabilitation, and save lives. The work of Attorney General James and her team has made the up to $1.5 billion in funding to New York programs possible. It is appropriate that these companies contribute to fighting this plague.”

“The opioid settlements negotiated by Attorney General James is an important step along the path to a reduction in opioid addiction and healing for our community,” said State Assemblymember Amy Paulin. “I thank her for bringing this issue to the forefront and holding the pharmaceutical companies accountable.”

“New York Attorney General James will be distributing up to $19 million to Westchester County from settlement funds from manufacturers and distributors of products leading to opioid use,” said State Assemblymember Sandy Galef. “I applaud Attorney General James for her strong legal efforts to help in this fight against preventing opioid overdoses and deaths throughout our state. Her actions will save many lives and will help to keep families together.”

“Attorney General Letitia James is commended for delivering crucial funding from opioid settlements to Yonkers,” said State Assemblymember Nader Sayegh. “The funding will expand services to deter drug addiction and encourage treatment and lifestyle changes.”

“Thank you to Attorney General James for securing these much-needed and much-deserved funds from pharmaceutical manufacturers that greedily exacerbated, if not created, the opioid crisis,” said State Assemblymember Chris Burdick. “As they should, the monies from this settlement will be directed towards fighting the opioid epidemic in our state, and I am grateful that Westchester will be receiving these funds, which will allow us to better combat this crisis in our communities.”

“I applaud Attorney General James' successful effort to make these drug companies pay for the harm they caused to so many New Yorkers, and I am proud to have voted for her legislation that dedicates these monies to remedy the harm and prevent future harm in our communities,” said State Assemblymember Tom Abinanti.

“Westchester County knows far too well the devastating impacts of the opioid epidemic — the lives cut short and the families torn apart,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “Thank you to New York Attorney General Letitia James for her leadership and for helping Westchester County fight back against opioid addiction. Westchester County is set to receive a minimum of $10.9 million and a maximum of $19.1 million under the settlement — this is a significant amount of money that will help countless victims rebuild their lives.”

“I am proud that many counties, including Orange County, led the fight against the opioid manufacturers and distributors who knowingly allowed people to become addicted to their drugs,” said Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus. “As a result, Big Pharma companies caused much pain for patients, their families, and our communities. These funds will not bring back loved ones lost to the opioid epidemic, but will hopefully assist others in getting treatment that can save their lives.”

“Families and communities have been destroyed by the opioid epidemic,” said Westchester District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah. “I commend New York Attorney General Letitia James for holding the opioid manufacturers accountable for their actions. Too many families have lost loved ones to addiction and overdose, and my office is committed to seeking justice for those families. We will continue to charge people who knowingly distribute opioids illegally and also assist those struggling with addiction to get treatment and support. I look forward to working with my government and community partners to help ensure that these settlement funds are used most effectively to help communities rebuild and recover and prevent and treat addiction and overdose.”

“The opioid crisis has destroyed many of our communities and these settlements will provide the much-needed recognition that Big Pharma played a significant role in the ruin of millions of lives,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “I applaud Attorney General James for fighting for our families and providing local municipalities, like Yonkers, the valuable resources to invest in abatement programs to prevent further devastation.”

“Mental health illness and opioid addiction has challenged our city along with neighboring towns in a super significant way,” said Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey. “Attorney General Letitia James has been committed to this challenge from her first day in office. She’s been here to partner with us, and we are very happy to receive these funds”.

“The opioid epidemic has had a profound and devastating impact across all our communities. I thank Attorney General James for her leadership in filing suit against companies that played such a destructive role in this epidemic,” said Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ben Boykin. “I also thank the Westchester County Law Department for its diligent work on Westchester’s behalf. Money can't bring back lives, or restore years lost to addiction, but it can help us respond to the physical and mental health challenges of opioid addiction. And hopefully the settlements send a clear message to those who are culpable.”

“New Yorkers are fortunate to have a strong advocate in Attorney General James, who aggressively sought to hold the opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable for their role in the opioid crisis,” said Westchester Legislator Nancy Barr, chair, Board of Legislators’ Law and Major Contracts Committee. “While these settlements cannot bring back the loved ones we lost, the resources from them can help us ease future suffering due to opioid addiction.”

“It’s vital that the up to $1.5 billion in settlement money negotiated by New York state from those responsible for our terrible opioid crisis comes back to the communities that are suffering the most,” said Westchester Legislator Tyrae Woodson-Samuels. “I’m very glad to see Attorney General James bring that message to our region, so that we can begin to rebuild from the loss so many families and neighborhoods have suffered.”

“The pain and destruction of opioid addiction has touched every corner of my district, our county, and the whole state,” said Westchester Legislator Ruth Walter, chair, Environment and Health Committee. “I'm proud to stand with leaders like Attorney General James in holding companies accountable for their part in this crisis. The resources from these settlements will fund crucial treatment, support, and avoidance programs. While these programs can't make up for those we've lost, they hopefully can help those who are suffering from opioid addiction, and begin a process of putting an end to this epidemic.”

“Westchester County is greatly appreciative of Attorney General Letitia James’ leadership in the effort to hold those responsible accountable for their irresponsible actions that have impacted so many of our residents,” said Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health Commissioner Michael Orth. “As commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health, I have witnessed the impact of the opioid epidemic: Individuals’ lives destroyed due to dependency on opioids, families torn apart, and, sadly, loss of many lives. Through Attorney General James’ thoughtful planning and commitment to education and sustainable recovery, these critical funds will be used to support our system of care and strengthen our prevention, intervention, and treatment services to provide the best possible outcomes for individuals and ultimately save lives.”

“Today, I congratulate and thank Attorney General James and all those who worked to make these opioid settlements possible,” said Michael Spicer, president and CEO, Saint Joseph’s Medical Center. “Increased support of prevention and treatment for opioid addiction will help to ensure that people can get the help they need to overcome this hidden epidemic. Thank you for your great work on behalf of all those we serve and, together, we will continue to strive to put an end to this crisis.”

“Cornerstone Family Healthcare and its subsidiaries, Hudson Valley Community Services and The Center for Recovery, fully support Attorney General James’ ‘HealNY’ tour,” said Linda Muller, president and CEO, Cornerstone Family Healthcare. “We have operated substance use disorder services, including prevention, syringe access, and treatment, for many years. Funding for these efforts has not matched the level of need we see for prevention, treatment, and recovery resources throughout the Hudson Valley. We are grateful to the attorney general for highlighting this need in New York state and delivering much-needed funds and resources to combat the opioid epidemic.”

“Westchester Jewish Community Services wants to thank Attorney General James for her heroic work to fight the opioid epidemic,” said Seth Diamond, CEO, Westchester Jewish Community Services. “The funding she has obtained will be critical to agencies throughout the county in our efforts to help those already impacted by opioids and in healing New York.”

“Attorney General Letitia James has led the fight to hold those responsible for the horrors of the opioid epidemic accountable, and we are now seeing the results of this effort,” said Stephanie Marquesano, The Harris Project | CODA. “This is very personal to my family and me, as my 19-year-old son Harris misused opioids and died by accidental overdose in 2013. Our repeated attempts to get the appropriate treatment for his addiction and mental health challenges — co-occurring disorders — failed because the system was not designed to meet his needs. We founded The Harris Project with a mission of improving outcomes for the millions with co-occurring disorders. We thank Attorney General James and the New York State Legislature for putting safeguards in place, so these dollars do not simply go to the state general fund, but will be used to build a better system of care across the continuum — enhancing prevention, intervention, treatment, and housing opportunities to ensure long-term sustainable recovery.”

“Thank you, Attorney General James, for being determined and persistent in securing the funds that rightfully will go to help save lives by expanding treatment, prevention, harm reduction, and recovery supports like housing,” said Susan Salomone, founder, Drug Crisis in our Backyard. “We were honored to be involved in this important legislation.”

“The opioid abuse epidemic has ravaged our communities for years due, in part, to the actions of certain pharmaceutical manufacturers and other unscrupulous actors,” said Ashley Brody, Search for Change, Inc. “We applaud Attorney General James for her tireless efforts in holding these parties accountable and for garnering resources essential to combating this scourge. This constitutes a much-needed ray of hope during an especially difficult period.”

“I pledge to work collaboratively with Westchester County and all community partners to develop new and innovative services for individuals with opioid use disorder and their families,” said Dr. Adrienne Marcus, executive director, Lexington Center for Recovery, Inc.

“In April of 2019, I had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with Attorney General James following the filing of her lawsuit on behalf of New York state against major pharmaceutical companies for their failure to take responsibility for their prominent role in our nation’s devastating opioid epidemic,” said Adrienne Voltaire, an impacted individual. “I was proud to take part in the forum, sharing some of my own history and struggle with opioid addiction, and my commitment to promoting access to treatment and public education in regards to substance use disorder. I continue to champion this cause in my personal life and career as a mental health professional, and am honored to remain a part of this critical initiative. The settlements from this lawsuit and the allocation of funds received directly to impacted populations is a win for all of us. I applaud the attorney general for her efforts on behalf of the citizens of New York and, most importantly, for people like me. We are all impacted by addiction and the sooner we are able to focus funding and efforts on treating this disease, the sooner we will heal our families and our 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.