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

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

WESTERN 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 Western New York came out and expressed their support for the agreement.

“The $230 million agreement for treatment and prevention of the opioid crisis in New York state is an incredible milestone toward efforts to eradicate opioid addiction and end the epidemic.” said State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “This settlement, reached through the diligent work of Attorney General Letitia James and her team, will deliver resources to treat, prevent, educate, and restore communities devastated by opioids across New York state. I applaud the leadership of Attorney General James on this important issue.”

“It's rare to find a New Yorker who has not been impacted by the opioid epidemic; the toll it has taken on families across our state and nation is unfathomable,” said State Senator Tim Kennedy. “This announcement from the Attorney General demonstrates a clear commitment to holding the manufacturers who contributed to this crisis accountable and ensuring that critical treatment and prevention resources are delivered to those communities struggling to assist those battling this disease. It's imperative that New York create the Opioid Settlement Fund immediately in order to channel this money into hope and help in the future."

“The opioid epidemic has ended too many lives and destroyed countless others,” said State Senator Samra Brouk. “Pharmaceutical companies who pushed opiate sales knowing how addictive and harmful they could be must be held accountable. While no amount of money can undo the damage that has been done to families across New York state, this settlement is a major step forward in holding corporations who put their own profits before public health accountable. As a result of the predatory practices used by these companies, tens of thousands of New Yorkers are still actively battling an addiction to opioids, and we must continue to ensure that they have the support and resources they need to reclaim control over their lives.”

“This $230 million settlement is a reminder that pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson must be held accountable for their role in the devastating opioid crisis”, said State Senator Jeremy Cooney. “Through this first step towards recovery, New York Attorney General Letitia James and her office are starting the process of helping New Yorkers directly impacted by the opioid epidemic. Here in Rochester, I am proud to partner with organizations like Trillium Health that are providing intervention services and working to destigmatize this public health crisis. I am committed to continuing to make progress towards helping those impacted heal, not to criminalize them and exacerbate harm.”

“Holding opioid manufacturers accountable for their actions and responsible for the devastation they have wrought in communities across New York and nationwide is a key step in healing and preventing more damage,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “We can never bring back those we’ve lost, but thanks to Attorney General James we will have more tools to raise awareness, offer help, and prevent such suffering in the future. Families in Erie County and across our region have felt the pain of this scourge as well, and I thank the Attorney General for her hard work on behalf of all of us.”

“I want to thank Attorney General Letitia James for continuing to stand up for residents and families of New York state and holding pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “She continues to lead the efforts to end this crisis that has caused incredible pain and suffering in neighborhoods and communities across New York state for too long. We must all continue to do our part to educate people about the dangers of opioids and bring programs and services to help treat addiction into the communities we serve.”

“Every day, I talk to families devastated by opioid addition in Jamestown,” said Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist. “I am proud to be able to tell them, and our community, that Attorney General James has brought the funds needed to help break the cycle of opioid addition, get loved ones the help they need, and advocate for treatment and prevention.”

“On behalf of our family and Save the Michaels families, we want to thank Attorney General Letitia James for championing our cause and speaking and standing up for our kids,” said Avi and Julie Israel, president and board member, Save the Michaels of the World. “Now is time to get going and help the people suffering from SUD. We ask Governor Cuomo be our partner and sign bill S7194.”

“On behalf of my family and Drug Crisis in our Backyard, we thank Attorney General James for her persistence in fighting this battle,” said Susan Salomone, executive director, Drug Crisis in Our Backyard. “The opioid epidemic took my son, Justin, and the children of so many that the devastation to our communities cannot be quantified. Now, we are determined to have this legislation signed into law. We respectfully ask Governor Cuomo to do justice to the families that lost lives and those still living with active addiction.”

“I would like to thank Attorney General James, Assembly Carrie Woerner, and Senator Gustavo Rivera for championing this important cause,” said Ashley Livingston, co-chair, Friends of Recovery Warren & Washington. “This money, while it will not bring back the lives lost, has the potential to save so many New Yorkers. I urge Governor Cuomo to sign this amazing legislation into law!”

“Attorney General Letitia James has led the fight to ensure that those responsible for the horrors of the opioid epidemic are held accountable,” said Stephanie Marquesano, founder and president, The Harris Project. “Now the funds must be applied towards prevention and to best meet the needs of those with substance use disorder and co-occurring disorders. On behalf of my family and The Harris Project, we ask Governor Cuomo to join the unanimous Legislature and sign the opioid settlement fund bill into law making these dollars available for immediate use where needed most.”

“I am so grateful for the tireless and fruitful efforts of Attorney General James,” said Dennis Gregg, co-founder, Heroin Epidemic Action League (HEAL) Madison and Onondaga County. “There is absolutely no reason Governor Cuomo should not sign bill S1794 immediately. It should have been signed as soon as it crossed his desk. My stepdaughter Holland, and so many others, have paid the ultimate price during the opioid epidemic. This money must be used for prevention, treatment, and recovery and for nothing else!”

“Thank you to the Attorney General for her advocacy and success in negotiating this settlement for New York state,” said Anne D. Constantino, president and CEO, Horizon Health Services. “This money is desperately needed to support all efforts to combat, prevent, and treat the crisis of addiction in our communities.”

“The leadership of Attorney General Letitia James has been vital in efforts to hold corporations accountable for irresponsible behavior that helped create and exacerbate the epidemic of overdose and addiction related to opioids,” said John Coppola, executive director, New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers. “It is now imperative that Governor Cuomo sign legislation unanimously passed in the New York State Senate and Assembly to ensure that settlement funds are properly spent.”

“I would like to thank Attorney General James and her staff for working diligently on the opioid lawsuits,” said Linda Ventura, president and founder, Thomas’ Hope Foundation Inc. “My family and all the families of Thomas’ Hope Foundation stand in gratitude. Governor Cuomo, sign the bill. Let’s create recovery services in New York state as a testimony to all the lives lost and loved ones devastated.”