CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York reached a settlement Tuesday with some of the nation’s largest opioid distributors that will net the state more than $1 billion.
The agreement came amid an ongoing landmark drug trial that is being held on Long Island, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.READ MORE: De Blasio: Cuomo 'Should Be Charged' Over Sexual Assault, Harassment Claims In AG Investigation
Sharon Richmond of Northport lost her only child, Vincent, to an accidental fentanyl overdose.
“To think that each day another family is going to go through the same pain that I went through as a mom is just unbearable,” Richmond said.
She is among thousands of Long Islanders with their eyes glued to the opioid trial in Central Islip, as cash settlements are reached with drug makers in historic monetary payouts.
So far, $1.1 billion has been awarded to the state of New York.
“This is the largest opioid related settlement in United States history. That’s a big deal,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.
Without admitting wrongdoing, Johnson & Johnson, Rite Aid, CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, and distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen settled during landmark legal challenges to hold drug providers and manufacturers accountable for the opioid addiction crisis that has torn apart communities.
“For more than two decades, the opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on countless communities throughout New York and across the rest of the nation, killing hundreds of thousands of our friends and family members and addicting millions more,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. “And over the course of these past two decades, McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen distributed these opioids without regard to the national crisis they were helping to fuel. But today, we’re holding them accountable and delivering more than $1 billion more into New York communities ravaged by opioids for treatment, recovery, and prevention efforts — bringing the statewide total our office has negotiated in the last month alone to more than $1.6 billion. While no amount of money will ever compensate for the millions of addictions, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, or the countless communities decimated by opioids, this money will be vital in preventing any future devastation.”READ MORE: NYC To Require Proof Of Vaccination For Indoor Dining, Fitness And Entertainment
So far, Nassau and Suffolk counties have each been awarded $115 million.
“These dollars will never bring back what was lost, but it will help us to win the battle moving forward,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
The eight-week state opioid trial at Touro College Law Center continues for four manufacturers who have not yet settled their cases.
“We need money for education and prevention in every school, access to treatment on demand, aftercare, relapse prevention counseling, family support services,” said Steve Chassman of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency.
Richmond’s son was kicked out of voluntary rehab after less than two weeks by the insurance company.
“Children like my son, Vincent, were allowed only 14 days,” Richmond said.
Deaths like Vincent’s, it is hoped, can be prevented if settlement funds are used wisely.MORE NEWS: 8-Year-Old Bronx Girl Dies After Decorative Railing Collapses On Her
The state’s “opioid lockbox” legislation mandates settlement funds be used for substance use disorder prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm-reduction services.