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Attorney General James to Deliver Up to $26.7 Million to Southern Tier to Combat Opioid Crisis

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

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today continued her statewide ‘HealNY’ tour of New York state with stops in Binghamton and Ithaca, where she announced that she will deliver up to $26.7 million to the Southern Tier 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.

“The Southern Tier has sadly seen the deadly and addictive side of the opioid crisis for the last two decades, but, today, we are beginning the process of healing New York by announcing that we will provide the region with up to $26.7 million to invest in opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery programs,” said Attorney General James. “While no amount of money can ever make up for all those we have lost, these funds can help the Southern Tier turn the tide on this epidemic and prevent future devastation.”

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Attorney General James announces that she will deliver millions of dollars to Broome County and other counties in the Southern Tier to help local residents recover from the opioid epidemic.

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Attorney General James announces that she will deliver millions of dollars to Tompkins County and other counties in the Southern Tier 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 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.

Southern Tier Total: $14,713,553.24 – $26,707,866.48*

  • Broome County: $2,411,383.62 – $4,163,766.38
  • Chemung County: $1,064,502.48 – $1,838,089.80
  • Chenango County: $446,279.32 – $770,596.11
  • Delaware County: $474,698.24 – $819,667.41
  • Schuyler County: $179,944.91 – $310,713.14
  • Steuben County: $982,586.25 – $1,696,644.02
  • Tioga County: $468,635.45 – $809,198.71
  • Tompkins County: $1,017,536.80 – $1,756,993.59

* In addition to sum total of counties, a regional share is also being allocated here.

“Today is not about money, it’s about justice. It’s about the families who lost sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers to the insidious disease of addiction,” said State Senator Fred Akshar. “I thank Attorney General James and her team for working hard to bring justice to our families, but securing this settlement is only half the battle. We must make sure that the state Legislature and the executive chamber invest every penny of it toward fighting the heroin and opioid crisis through treatment, prevention, education, and recovery. I’m calling on my colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, to work together to make sure this funding goes towards its intended purpose. Anything less is a failure of the state's moral obligation to invest in and protect some of its most vulnerable citizens.”

“Our community, like so many others, has paid a high price for the wide availability of opioid drugs,” said State Assemblymember Donna Lupardo. “I’d like to thank Attorney General James for her work negotiating these settlements from the drug manufacturers and distributors that were responsible for this crisis. As a co-sponsor of the legislation creating the opioid settlement fund, we wanted these monies to go exclusively toward prevention, treatment, recovery, and public education. I’m glad to see this happening across the state; we are grateful for the assistance.”

“One of the largest and most complex challenges facing our region is opioid addiction,” said Binghamton Mayor Richard David. “I applaud Attorney General James for holding corporations accountable and providing resources to our treatment partners on the frontlines. For decades, these partners have been fighting an uphill battle. These funds will help our region in that battle and deliver the resources that are so needed.”

“The creation of the opioid settlement fund, which I was proud to help sponsor and strongly support, finally ensures that any funding the state receives from opioid-related settlements will be dedicated to education, prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and services,” said State Senator Tom O’Mara. “It’s the right thing to do. The opioid-abuse epidemic has taken thousands of lives and ravaged communities and families across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Region, and throughout New York state. This new fund and a renewed commitment to combatting this epidemic promises to help rebuild shattered lives and prevent countless tragic deaths.”

“The opioid epidemic has had devastating human impacts — and this unprecedented investment, delivered by Attorney General James, will save lives and improve the city of Ithaca,” said Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick. “We are incredibly grateful.”

“Finally, we are holding the different manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid crisis accountable and making them pay for all the devastation they’ve inflicted on New Yorkers,” said Tompkins County Chair Leslyn McBean-Clairborne. “We appreciate Attorney General James and other leaders standing strong for our most vulnerable citizens and rising up against Big Pharma. These settlements send a clear message that we value human life and dignity over personal profit.”

“Treating addiction is not a one size fits all model, and now, more than ever, providers need to work together to find the right method of treatment,” said Jessica Janssen, Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services. “These settlement funds are a great avenue to create more integrated systems of care, meeting patients where they are at and being ready when they are.”

“I want to thank Attorney General Letitia James for achieving the unachievable, in securing over $1 billion to be utilized to save lives for those suffering from opioid use disorder,” said Justine Waldman, REACH Medical. “This comes at a time of great despair in our nation as the joint forces of COVID-19 and opioid use disorder have rendered many of us hopeless.”

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.