Attorney General James to Deliver Up to $53 Million to Finger Lakes Region to Combat Opioid Crisis

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

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today continued her statewide ‘HealNY’ tour of New York state with a stop in Rochester, where she announced that she will deliver up to $53 million to the Finger Lakes Region 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 more than two decades, the Finger Lakes Region has been ravaged by the opioid crisis, but, today, we are finally starting to heal New York by announcing that we will be delivering up to $53 million to the area to invest in the prevention, treatment, and recovery programs,” said Attorney General James. “No amount of money will ever make up for all the addictions, all the deaths, and all the communities devastated by opioids, but these funds will be essential in helping the Finger Lakes Region turn the tide on this epidemic.”

Rochester Monroe check pic 10.14.2021 healny

Attorney General James announces that she will deliver millions of dollars to the city of Rochester, Monroe County,
and other counties in the Finger Lakes Region 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.

Finger Lakes Region: $29,266,905.67 – $53,124,938.32*

  • Genesee County: $614,045.87 – $1,060,280.71
  • Livingston County: $586,539.40 – $1,012,784.94
  • Monroe County: $11,143,437.26 – $19,509,989.88**
  • Ontario County: $1,131,905.55 – $1,954,475.53
  • Orleans County: $356,743.79 – $615,993.98
  • Seneca County: $334,269.32 – $577,187.03
  • Wayne County: $858,979.10 – $1,483,210.00
  • Wyoming County: $355,707.37 – $614,204.38
  • Yates County: $214,215.07 – $369,887.85

* 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.

“The opioid epidemic has impacted the lives of far too many families and has only grown worse since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m grateful to Attorney General James for all she’s doing to address this scourge on our communities,” said U.S. Representative Joe Morelle. “But it’s going to take all of us — and that’s why I’m continuing to work with my colleagues in Congress to tackle this crisis head on and prevent opioid addiction from claiming more lives.”

“Monroe County’s commitment to those suffering from addiction include a special drug overdose outreach team, home visits, and 90-day follow-up check-ins with coordinated addiction and mental health services,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “Thank you to Attorney General Letitia James for making these drug manufacturers and distributors pay for fueling the opioid epidemic. To ensure these hard fought settlement dollars support our opioid epidemic response, we created a special trust fund to help those who are battling addiction and opioid abuse.”

“Thanks to the perseverance of Attorney General Letitia James we have brought accountability to countless families and drawn a line that corporate greed will not go unchecked,” said Monroe County Clerk Jamie Romeo. “The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on the need to invest and reimagine the way we address many social services, including mental health and addiction services. This funding will help Monroe County continue to lead by example, and support County Executive Bello’s plans to move our community forward.”

“The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, in particular the Monroe County Heroin Task Force, will never let its foot off the gas when it comes to combatting the opioid epidemic,” said Monroe County Sheriff Todd K. Baxter. “These much-appreciated funds designated for our region will only help fuel our efforts to ensure those battling addiction have the necessary resources to lead them on a path forward towards recovery. These monies will also be utilized to send a strong message to those dealing this poison. If you sell dirty dope, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”            

“I want to thank Attorney General James for her leadership and fearless commitment to seeking justice for those who have been affected by the opioid epidemic,” said Rochester City Councilmember Malik Evans. “These settlement funds will allow our community to take steps to ensure that programs can be put in place to prevent opioid addiction. The attorney general’s settlement sends a message that pharmaceutical companies should not profit off of addiction.”

“So many families across our community, our state, and our nation continue to struggle with addiction and have been irreparably harmed by the knowing and deliberate actions taken by opioid manufacturers, distributors, and salespersons,” said State Senator Samra Brouk. “It is wholly appropriate that industry players are held accountable in a way that invests in communities most harmed by their products. I thank Attorney General Letitia James for her leadership in securing these settlements against opioid manufacturers and distributors to fund recovery and prevention programs, and to send a clear message that this sort of killer corporate malfeasance will not be tolerated in New York state.”

“The Greater Rochester region was sadly not immune from the devastation of the opioid crisis,” said State Senator Jeremy Cooney. “Our city and towns are in need of investments to help move forward from this period in our history. The funds from the opioid manufacturers’ and distributors’ settlements will be used for healing our neighborhoods from the adverse impact of opioid misuse, with increased focus on prevention, treatment, and recovery. I applaud the work of Attorney General James in securing over $10 million in financial restitution for our community members whose lives were upended by the negligence and greed of manufacturers and distributors.”

“Although the opioid epidemic is a national issue, it is the states and localities shouldering most of the financial and social burden caused by addiction. Far too many people have died from opioid-involved overdoses, and even more family members are left picking up the pieces of those shattered lives,” said State Assemblymember Harry Bronson. “The misuse of and addiction to opioids — including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl — is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. I applaud Attorney General James for her tenacity in pursing those who are responsible for this crisis, and I know these funds will provide a step forward in correcting the impact of opioids on our communities.”

“The New York state funding secured for opioid abatement by Attorney General James meets New Yorkers who are victims of addiction where they are at by funding programs for prevention, as well as treatment and recovery from substance abuse,” said State Assemblymember Sarah Clark. “Unfortunately, we have seen the heartbreaking toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities already decimated due to the opioid epidemic. This funding will be part of a new chapter for New York — one that will address the disparity in resources for socioeconomically underserved communities statewide. I am grateful to Attorney General James' office for bringing this critical funding to our region. We must all continue to do our part in preventing unnecessary deaths due to substance abuse and addiction.”

“I want to thank Attorney General Letitia James for her bold leadership and fearless advocacy on behalf of New York families ravaged by the opioid crisis,” said State Assemblymember Jen Lunsford. “Across our country an average of 250 people die every day from opioid overdoses — rich and poor, old and young, every color, every gender, every nationality is touched by this scourge. This landmark case, and the up to $1.5 billion it will bring to our communities, will help us in the fight to keep our families safe and healthy.”

“Corporations littered our streets with narcotic strength opioids while chasing financial gain,” said State Assemblymember Demond Meeks. “I am pleased that those same corporations are being held accountable and paying for the losses our communities continue to suffer each day because of their greed. As a state representative, I am committed to supporting treatment centers and assisting in the efforts to lift our sisters and brothers out of addiction.”

“These resources are a step in the right direction, though there is no amount of money that can undo the devastation caused by opioids in our community,” said Monroe County Legislator Yversha Roman. “I plan to work alongside my colleagues in the state Legislature to ensure equitable recovery efforts in every corner of Monroe County.”

“Through the advocacy and leadership of Attorney General Letitia James and the wisdom of County Executive Adam Bello, Monroe County now has the resources to pursue the prevention, treatment, and recovery agenda our citizens deserve,” said Monroe County Legislator John Baynes.

“I am grateful for Attorney General James’ leadership in holding those responsible for the opioid crisis accountable,” said Monroe County Legislator Howard Maffucci. “It is critical that Monroe County follow the plan outlined by County Executive Bello to ensure these funds go directly to our efforts on treating and preventing addiction.”

“As the county legislator for District 22, I am confronted with the devastation of the opioid crisis on a daily basis,” said Monroe County Legislator Vincent R. Felder. “I am grateful that we have an attorney general in Letitia James who has successfully held accountable those manufacturers and distributors that are responsible for this crisis. These funds, when utilized in a targeted and responsible way, will help us bring a sense of relief to those in the Rochester community, particularly in the North Clinton Avenue area, who have suffered under this devastation for far too long.”

“On behalf of DePaul’s National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence-Rochester Area, I applaud the efforts of New York Attorney General Letitia James as she continues to work for the individuals and families that have been and continue to be so deeply impacted by the ravages of the opioid epidemic,” said Jennifer Faringer, director, DePaul’s National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence-Rochester Area. “With her efforts, and these funds allocated to our network of community addiction services across the continuum — prevention, treatment, and recovery — we can collaboratively work to respond to both those individuals and families in crisis and in need of services today, but also importantly toward preventing future devastation to the fabric of our community!”

“We at Ibero understand the complexity of the opioid epidemic and the traumatic effects substance abuse has on the community,” said Angelica Perez-Delgado, president and CEO, Ibero-American Action League. “Neighborhoods have been victimized, families traumatized, and individual lives destroyed. It is time that we invest in repairing these harms and healing our people.”

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.