New York City Leaders Voice Support for AG James’ Settlement with Johnson & Johnson for Role in Opioid Crisis

Elected Officials and Advocates Across New York City Praise AG’s
Settlement and Continued Commitment to Ending the Opioid Crisis

NEW YORK – After New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an agreement this past weekend with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) that will deliver up to $230 million to New York state — the largest monetary settlement ever secured by Attorney General James — and bar the company and all of its subsidiaries, predecessors, and successors from manufacturing or selling opioids anywhere in the nation, elected officials and community leaders across New York City came out and expressed their support for the agreement.

“The opioid epidemic has killed over 800,000 Americans over the past two decades. The companies that knowingly pumped American streets and bodies full of these deadly drugs must face accountability for their immorality and for the destruction they have wrought,” said U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler. “Johnson & Johnson, which is the parent company of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, aggressively marketed highly-addictive opioids to the public — the $230 million monetary settlement they must deliver to New York state and their commitment to cease selling opioids is a small measure of justice after decades of perpetrating harm. I applaud Attorney General James for her tenacious leadership in holding corporations like Johnson & Johnson to account.”

“The opioid crisis is an epidemic of unimaginable proportions and has hit close to home for countless communities around the country — it has devastated the lives of far too many families across the nation, including so many right here in New York City and around the state,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “We cannot turn back time for the families who have lost loved ones to this deadly crisis, but today’s announcement by Johnson and Johnson to cease the sale of opioids is a long-overdue first step. I applaud the continued efforts of Attorney General James to pursue justice for these hundreds of thousands of families, and everyone who will benefit from the treatment and prevention programs created by this settlement. It will take each of us working together to end this public health crisis once and for all.” 

“This settlement holds Johnson & Johnson accountable for their role in fueling the opioid crisis and provides New York with the resources it needs to help those navigating the difficult journey that is substance use disorder,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I commend Attorney General James for her steadfast leadership in securing this settlement for New Yorkers and call on Governor Cuomo to swiftly sign my bill to establish an opioid fund into law. Its implementation is not only required for New York to be able to receive the settlement, but it will also ensure its use for its intended purpose — fund substance use disorder prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services. While this not bring back those who we have lost to this devastating crisis, it will help us heal and recover.” 

“Communities across New York continue to be devastated by the opioid crisis, and far too many lives have been overturned because companies like Johnson & Johnson have mishandled these dangerous and highly addictive painkillers,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “This historic settlement ensures that they’re finally out of the business of pushing these products to New Yorkers, and that the funding we receive can enable us to better serve impacted individuals and prevent future opioid abuse. While there’s more to be done to fight this epidemic, this mandate is an important step forward in holding the industry accountable and saving lives.” 

“Attorney General James has won an important victory in the fight against opioid abuse and for holding corporations accountable for dangerous, irresponsible behavior,” said State Assemblymember Richard N. Gottfried. 

“This momentous settlement on behalf of New Yorkers who fell victim to the schemes of opioid-pushing corporations has the potential to do immense good in our fight against opioid abuse in New York state,” said State Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz. “This effort is in tandem with legislation that I proudly supported and has passed in the Assembly, which is now before the Governor for his signature. Thank you to Attorney General James for her excellent leadership in reaching this settlement, and I strongly urge the Governor to follow suit by quickly signing the Opioid Settlement Fund bill on his desk into law.”

“With tens of thousands of Staten Islanders and their families having been negatively impacted by the opioid crisis over the last few decades, the recent news of the funding secured by Attorney General Letitia James is monumental as it is imperative toward curbing opioid overdoses and addiction,” said State Assemblymember Mike Cusick. “It also paves the way for needed millions in treatment funding while banning J&J from selling opioids giving our borough and our state the opportunity to address the needs of victims without having the threat of a major source.”  

"Thanks to the vision, skills, and tenacity of Attorney General Letitia James, Johnson & Johnson's involvement in propelling the opioid crisis to deadly heights in New York state will cost them a $230 million settlement,” said State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal. “As families continue to mourn lives lost to opioid use, the money secured in this settlement will help with much-needed treatment and education, a benefit for all New Yorkers.” 

“This is a historic settlement for New York state by having drug companies acknowledge their role in the opioid epidemic,” said State Assemblymember Harvey Epstein. “I stand with the Attorney General in advancing this important agreement. This settlement will provide hundreds of millions of dollars to affected communities across our great state to try to start to recover from the harms caused by these drugs.” 

“The opioid crisis for far too long has caused so much destruction and pain for our communities,” said State Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez. “It is overdue that they pay to help rebuild and help the countless families and victim to the opioid epidemic. I want to thank Attorney General James for her amazing work on this critical issue. Governor Cuomo needs to sign the legislation to create the opioid settlement fund immediately to not waste any more time to help out communities.” 

“I applaud the Office of the Attorney General for reaching a historic settlement with Johnson & Johnson to ensure accountability for the pharmaceutical company’s role in the opioid crisis,” said State Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson. “The opioid crisis has claimed the lives of thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers of various racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, causing incalculable loss and devastation to families and communities across New York state. Whether we are healing the wounds of the war on drugs or the opioid crisis, we must be resolute in our pursuit of justice for vulnerable communities. As we engage Johnson & Johnson during this current public health crisis of COVID-19, it is critically important to hold them to a high standard of transparency, accountability, and good ethics as they are not above reproach. We must advocate for the monies from this historic settlement to be invested directly in communities impacted by the opioid crisis.”

“The settlement with Johnson & Johnson won by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office is a victory in the fight against the opioid addiction scourge, in that the $230 million J&J will pay will go to a state fund for prevention, treatment, and education,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark. “The Bronx needs and deserves some of this funding because we have been one of the hardest hit counties in the nation, in terms of overdoses and devastation of families and communities. We have suffered with opioid addiction for decades and the problem was compounded by the pharmaceutical companies’ role in bringing it to an epidemic. I thank Senator Gustavo Rivera for sponsoring the bill establishing an opioid settlement fund, and I urge Governor Cuomo to sign the legislation.” 

“The opioid epidemic has destroyed too many lives, especially, sadly, on Staten Island, and we must continue to take action against the pharmaceutical companies and all who are responsible for fueling this national public health crisis,” said Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon. “This settlement will help prevent prescription pills from flowing into our communities, and I applaud Attorney General James and her entire team for their commitment to ensuring those responsible are held fully accountable. Those suffering from addiction illness, caused in large part by the willful acts of greed of the pharmaceutical industry, need our help and we must do all we can to expand education, prevention, treatment, and recovery programs to battle this five-alarm fire.” 

“Opioids have taken far too many lives, especially on Staten Island, and finally we are placing some blame and getting accountability,” said New York City Councilmember Joe Borelli. “I am glad Attorney General James stayed on top of this issue on behalf of the thousands of New York families who lost a loved one.”

“Thank you, Attorney General Letitia James,” said Joyce Rivera, CEO, St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction. “This laudable success must be a first step in holding legal opioid drug dealers accountable for their decades-old practices of hooking vulnerable New Yorkers to legal opioids. $230 million is dwarfed by the billions Johnson & Johnson has made in profitable drug dealing. The generational impact of Johnson & Johnson's (and big Pharma) opioid drug dealing is evident in the massive numbers of legal drug users displaced onto the illicit drug market, opioid overdoses, individual and familial trauma, community harm, and economic decline across decades. Syringe exchange broke the back of the AIDS crisis. Now is the time to expand the harm reduction drug user health initiative at the AIDS Institute and enact legislative change by eliminating PL section 220.45.” 

“Holding manufacturers of addictive opioids that have ravaged our communities accountable, especially those in the Bronx, is a necessary first step to provide justice to victims,” said Michael Brady, CEO, Third Avenue Business Improvement District and co-chair, Bronx Opioid Collective. “We join New York Attorney General Letitia James today in applauding the passage of bills by both chambers of the state legislature — S7194 and A6395B — and pledge our continued support to ensuring programs are fully funded to assist as many individuals as possible with holistic, person-centered, and community-based care.”

“Camelot and all of Staten Island applauds Attorney General Letitia James for her untiring dedication to hold those responsible for their part in the mass destruction of lives,” said Luke J. Nasta, CEO, Camelot Counseling Staten Island. “Hopefully, Attorney General James will ensure that the $230 million will go directly to the New York State Office of Addiction Services and supports licensed providers of treatment and prevention services.” 

“Acacia Network commends Attorney General Letitia James and the state of New York for having the grit to take on the pharmaceutical industry, which has profited from addiction for far too long,” said Raul Russi, president and CEO, Acacia Network. “It is no secret that the opioid epidemic has disproportionately impacted low-income communities of color, well before it reached middle-class America. As nonprofit providers in the addiction services field in the communities hardest hit by the opioid crisis, we welcome this news and look forward to strengthening our partnership with the state to aid in the recovery of those communities in greatest need.”