$5.8M coming to Capital Region from state opioid settlement

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ALBANY The state Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday announced the first round of funding for Capital Region counties to assist them in battling opioid abuse, which has been claiming lives at a record rate.

The $5.78 million is the local share of the first tranche resulting from settlement of state lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of opioids, the powerful synthetic painkillers that can be highly addictive if used for an extended period and deadly if abused in too large a quantity.

Subsequent payouts will bring a total of $32 million to the Capital Region.

“This is the result of our litigation against Big Pharma for the destruction and devastation they caused as a result of opioids, the devastation and destruction that unfortunately claimed so many lives and impacted so many families,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a news conference Tuesday.

“It’s only a piece of the $1.5 billion in settlements with some of the distributors and the manufacturers who are responsible for this carnage.”

All 62 counties and the five largest cities in the state are receiving money this week, James said.

The local awards in the eight-county Capital Region are:

  • City of Albany: $116,277 
  • Albany County: $1,664,997 
  • Columbia County: $391,761 
  • Greene County: $473,167 
  • Rensselaer County: $757,967 
  • Saratoga County: $1,001,677 
  • Schenectady County: $726,152 
  • Warren County: $365,142 
  • Washington County: $286,252 

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy, appearing during the same virtual press conference as James, said the goal is to keep prescription drugs out of the hands of youths, teach their parents how to safely dispose of unneeded medication and present addiction treatment options.

A record number of opioid deaths were recorded statewide and nationwide in 2020, including 69 in Albany County. The state Department of Health earlier this month reported that Albany County was on track to exceed that number in 2021, with 55 deaths in the first nine months alone.

“There’s no dollar amount that can bring a loved one back,” McCoy said.

James’ office said these first payments come from settlements with opioid distributors — AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation. Later this year, Albany and the Capital Region counties will receive additional payments from the settlements with Endo Health Solutions, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Allergan. 

In addition, counties and cities will receive funds from the New York State Opioid Settlement Fund, which is managed by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.

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