Up to $75 million announced to fight opioid crisis in WNY

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Between $41 million and $75 million in funds from different settlements is coming to western New York to fight the opioid crisis, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday.

In March 2019, James announced a major lawsuit against a number of opioid distributors and manufacturers.

“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,” a news release from James’ office read.

Throughout October, James has been making stops across New York, announcing up to $1.5 billion in funds going to counties across the state. That money will be used for prevention, treatment and recovery programs.

Here’s what the breakdown looks like for the local area. The first number is the minimum amount each county could receive, while the second is the maximum:

Allegany County: $425,693.35 – $735,050.06Cattaraugus County: $765,411.42 – $1,321,645.52Chautauqua County: $1,479,959.48 – $2,555,464.62Erie County: $16,602,566.69 – $29,067,862.99Niagara County: $2,952,477.35 – $5,098,079.73

In a news release, James’ office said that some of the funding included in the Erie County section will not go to the county, but “a major city within the county.”

The money listed in this western New York county breakdown came from settlements with Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health, Amerisource Bergen and Endo. The amount each county gets will depend on how many localities agree to the terms of the settlements.

MORE | NYS AG Letitia James addresses CWA workers on strike at Mercy Hospital

The regional split for payments from Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family is still being finalized.

A trial against Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and Allergan Finance is ongoing in state court. Cases against Mallinckrodt and Rochester Drug Cooperative are “now moving separately through U.S. Bankruptcy Court,” James office says.

“While no amount of money will ever compensate for all the loss we have experienced, these funds will allow western New York to invest in the prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that will allow us to finally turn the tide on the opioid crisis and have a fighting chance at saving all the Michaels of the world,” James said.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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