Attorney general begins distributing opioid settlement money

Photo courtesy of the Attorney General’s Office
In October, 2021, Attorney General Letitia 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 first of the funding was distributed ths month.

New York Attorney General Letitia James held a virtual press conference on April 19 to announce the first round of payments from statewide opioid settlements for the Capital Region.

The funds are the result of the $1.5 billion that James secured for New York so far as a result of settlements with the manufacturers and distributors of opioids. All 62 counties and the five largest cities in the state all began receiving funds last week, which will be used for opioid treatment and prevention efforts.

In the first round of payments, the Capital Region will receive $ 5,783,397, with the city of Albany getting $116,277; Albany County: $1,664,997; Columbia County: $391,761; Greene County: $473,167; Rensselaer County: $757,967; Saratoga County: $1,001,677; Schenectady County: $726,152; Warren County: $365,142; and Washington County $286,252.

“While there is no amount of money that could make up for the loss of life, these large settlements will hold these companies accountable, will prevent drug companies from this deception in the future, will help New Yorkers end the terrible cycle of hopelessness and addiction that opioids have caused, and it will save lives,” James said.

These first payments come from settlements with opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; and McKesson Corporation. 

Later this year, communities across New York will receive additional payments from the settlements with Endo Health Solutions, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Allergan. 

In addition, New York counties and cities will receive funds from the New York State Opioid Settlement Fund, which is managed by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.

Joining James during the stream were Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.

“If you look at the history of this country and the wars we’ve been in going back to 1700, currently we’ve lost–and please don’t hold me to the exact numbers, I’m just paraphrasing–we’ve lost over 1.3 million Americans defending this country,” McCoy said. “And yet, from 1999 to 2019, we’ve lost over 800,000 people to overdoses. Think about that; in the last two to three years…we’re going to bypass that [number] of soldiers who laid down their lives for this country.”