Orange County will receive at least $4.4 million and as much as $7.6 million in proceeds from lawsuits filed against drug manufacturers and distributors responsible for the ravages of opioid addiction, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Oct. 5.
The Orange County figures were disclosed at a White Plains stop of James’ statewide HealNY tour. They come from settlements with manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Endo Health Solutions and distributors McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation.
The more localities around the state sign up for the settlements, the more Orange County will receive for prevention, treatment and recovery programs.
‘These funds ... will hopefully assist others in getting treatment that can save their lives’
The county will set up a committee with representation from the Probation, Health, Mental Health, Emergency Services and County Attorney’s agencies to evaluate the funds available and to determine how they how are to be used.
“I am proud that many counties, including Orange County, led the fight against the opioid manufacturers and distributors who knowingly allowed people to become addicted to their drugs,” Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus said in a press release issued by James. “As a result, Big Pharma companies caused much pain for patients, their families, and our communities. These funds will not bring back loved ones lost to the opioid epidemic but will hopefully assist others in getting treatment that can save their lives.”
‘Much-needed funds and resources’
Linda Muller, president and CEO of Cornerstone Family Healthcare, is quoted in the attorney general’s press release as saying that “we have operated substance use disorder services, including prevention, syringe access and treatment, for many years. Funding for these efforts has not matched the level of need we see for prevention, treatment, and recovery resources throughout the Hudson Valley. We are grateful to the attorney general for highlighting this need in New York state and delivering much-needed funds and resources to combat the opioid epidemic.”
More money – in addition to the sums announced Oct. 5 - could be on the way.
Payments from settlements with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, as the regional split for those payments are still being finalized. Other cases are moving separately in bankruptcy court or being tried.
- Jeff Storey