Attorney General James to Deliver Up to $14.5 Million to North Country to Combat Opioid Crisis

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

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today continued her statewide ‘HealNY’ tour of New York state with a stop in Plattsburgh, where she announced that she will deliver up to $14.5 million to the North Country 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.

“For over two decades, the North Country and every other region of New York has been devastated by the opioid crisis, but, today, we are announcing that we will infuse up to $14.5 million into the region and even more across the rest of the state to help weather the storm created by the various manufacturers and distributors of opioids,” said Attorney General James. “These funds will be vital in turning the tide on the opioid crisis by investing in crucial prevention, treatment, and recovery programs. While no monetary figure, however high, will ever make up for all that we have collectively lost to this epidemic, these funds will be essential in helping to prevent future devastation.”

plattsburgh 10.8

Attorney General James announces that she will deliver millions of dollars to Clinton County
and other counties in the North Country 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.

North Country Total: $8,021,945.15 – $14,561,339.22*

  • Clinton County: $718,499.42 – $1,240,641.97
  • Essex County: $317,373.14 – $548,012.18
  • Franklin County: $395,192.61 – $682,384.04
  • Hamilton County: $26,155.59 – $45,163.19
  • Jefferson County: $1,100,575.59 – $1,900,377.70
  • Lewis County: $216,993.03 – $374,684.59
  • Lawrence County: $1,066,509.31 – $1,841,555.02

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

“The widespread availability and misuse of opioids fueled an alarming epidemic over the past decade,” said State Senator Dan Stec. “Too many lives have been shattered by addiction. While a lot has been learned and progress has been made to help people, much more support is needed for the frontline agencies and the dedicated and caring men and women who are working so hard to help struggling individuals and their families overcome addiction and to build much better lives in the process. This funding is absolutely critical, and I thank Attorney General James for ensuring it reaches our communities.” 

“Helping those in recovery has been one of my top priorities and that is why I have continued to support and sponsor legislation that provide resources for addiction services throughout the North Country,” said State Assemblymember Billy Jones. “This past legislative session, I was proud to co-sponsor the bill that requires opioid settlement funds to be used for addiction-related services, instead of going to the state general fund. Attorney General Letitia James has been a great leader while representing New Yorkers in lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid epidemic, and I want to thank her for her hard work to get justice for so many who were impacted by this crisis. North Country residents know the true impacts of addiction and substance use; this settlement money that the attorney general announced this week is one more step forward in helping people in our region get the resources they need.”

“The opioid crisis has had a tragic impact on Clinton County families, and the Clinton County District Attorney’s office has and will continue to work alongside our partners in law enforcement, government, and with treatment providers across the county to turn the tide of this devastating cycle of addiction,” said Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie. “I commend Attorney General James for her outstanding 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 community from this terrible epidemic. The Office of the Clinton County District Attorney has been and remains committed to seeking justice for those families. We will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who knowingly distribute opioids illegally and continue to assist those struggling with addiction to get treatment and support they need through the court system. I look forward to working with our government and community partners to help ensure that these settlement funds are used efficiently to help Clinton County recover, prevent,and treat addiction and overdose.”

“The North Country is not immune to the opioid epidemic. In the last three months alone, our police force has responded to over 20 overdose calls and have successfully applied NARCAN to save lives. There are dozens more overdoses that are never reported or are treated at home due to NARCAN being readily available,” said Plattsburgh Mayor Christopher Rosenquest. “It's been proven that this opioid epidemic was fabricated by drug manufacturers and distributors. What we've seen from Attorney General James' office in fighting this epidemic is beyond impressive. Thanks to her efforts, Attorney General James has fought these big businesses and has secured up to $1.5 billion for New York state communities like ours. She is an example for our and other state leaders in this fight.”

“The opioid epidemic has stolen countless lives, leaving behind heartbreak and devastation,” said Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael S. Cashman. “No settlement will ever bring back the lives of our family, friends, and neighbors. This crisis has touched every part of our state. However, these funds will bring critical resources for treatment and prevention services. Here in the Town of Plattsburgh, the recovery community — including Champlain Valley Family Center and MHAB — has been part of the creation of innovative and transformative-care partnership models. The funds will strengthen our ability to respond as a community. Each of us also has a responsibility to destigmatize addiction and recovery. My thanks to Attorney General James for her leadership and her team for their good works in securing these funds.”

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing attention was being focused on the opioid epidemic and its devastating impact on individuals, families, communities, and employers,” said Garry Douglas, president, North Country Chamber of Commerce. “The opioid crisis is still with us and, in fact, worse than ever, and we thank Attorney General James for staying on top of the challenge with determination and now being able to provide up to $1.5 billion in settlement funds to help support a range of responses. The MHAB Life Skills Campus is a perfect example of collaborative response at the community level, and it is great to have her visit and highlight this initiative and its many partners.”

“Our region is appreciative of the tremendous commitment and dedication that Attorney General James has made to our friends and neighbors here in the North Country,” said John C. Bernardi, president and CEO, United Way of the Adirondack Region. “With her leadership, we will be able to leverage additional resources toward prevention and treatment efforts, thus shining a light of hope across our region.”

“Attorney General James heard firsthand from substance use disorder providers and families in New York state about the pain, the loss of life, and the devastation the opioid epidemic has caused. She listened, and took decisive action,” said Connie Wille, CEO, Champlain Valley Family Center. “Attorney General James held the opioid manufacturers accountable for their role in creating and sustaining this epidemic. Of significance, our attorney general has seen to it that the lawsuit’s negotiated funds will be used to rectify the incalculable damages synthetic opiates have caused, by not allowing the money to be put into the general fund. As a provider of substance use disorder services, I am excited about the positive impact these funds will have on our addiction service delivery system and, more importantly, the families and individuals we serve.”

“Addiction has plagued society for years,” said Michael H Carpenter, founder and president, MHAB Life Skills Campus. “The Sackler family and other members of Big Pharma egregiously exploited humankind — veiled in the pursuit of pain management — to create a tsunami of trauma, isolation, and suffering. These unlawful activities are blatant and intentional. Our road to recovery occurs when communities can truly band together, truly align resources, and change the inertia of suffering to the restoration of civility and connection. Attorney General Letitia James’ efforts to hold bad actors accountable and bring home to the ravaged communities resources to invest in that road to recovery provides us with a renewed sense of hope and justice.”

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, Larry Reina, 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.