New York passes bill creating Opioid Settlement Fund

New York Attorney General Letitia James applauded the passage of bills by both chambers of the state legislature that will ensure “all funds received by the state as the result of a settlement or a judgment in litigation against opioid manufacturers, distributors, dispensers, consultants, or resellers shall be deposited into [an] opioid settlement fund, and that such funds shall not supplant or replace existing state funding.” 

“Our state took a big step today in our efforts to end the opioid epidemic and provide justice to its victims by passing new legislation that will ensure funds recovered from opioid settlements and litigation will go where they’re needed — to fund prevention, education, and treatment programs,” said Attorney General James. “While no amount of money will ever compensate for the thousands who lost their lives or became addicted to opioids across our state, or provide solace to the countless families torn apart by this crisis, this bill ensures funds are used to prevent any future devastation. I thank Senator Rivera and Assemblymember Woerner, as well as the county and local governments, advocates, service providers, and families for working to get this bill across the finish line.”

In March 2019, Attorney General James filed the nation’s most extensive lawsuit to hold accountable the various manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid epidemic. 

Additionally, just a few months ago, in February, AG James co-led a coalition of nearly every attorney general in the nation in delivering more than $573 M – more than $32 M of which was earmarked for New York state – toward opioid treatment and abatement to stem the opioid crisis that has ravaged families across the county in an agreement and consent judgment with McKinsey & Company. 

The agreement with one of the world’s largest consulting firms resolved investigations by the attorneys general into the company’s role in working for opioid companies, helping those companies promote their drugs, and profiting millions of dollars from the opioid epidemic. The funds from the agreement were to be used towards abating the effects of excessive opioid use in the participating states, however, New York’s current law does not allow or enable for distribution of settlement funds in this manner, which is why this legislation was necessary.

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