“The ongoing opioid epidemic has devastated New York families with heartbreaking consequences, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified the struggle for individuals with substance use disorders. While we’ve worked to increase support for individuals struggling with addiction and better regulate prescription drugs, we must do more to tackle this crisis within a crisis. Social isolation and economic hardships have taken a significant toll on many New Yorkers, but those suffering from addiction have also been cut off from in-person counseling and treatment programs during the pandemic. To expand support services, the Assembly Majority passed legislation that creates the Opioid Settlement Fund from financial compensation received from lawsuits against those that helped create the opioid epidemic (A.6395-B).
“New York is slated to receive millions of dollars from opioid manufacturers and distributors as a result of legal actions brought by the state Attorney General’s Office. This legislation will ensure any money the state receives from these legal settlements is only used for eligible expenditures, such as substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery programs and public education campaigns to combat this epidemic. The bill also prevents these funds from being used to supplant or replace existing state or federal funds that would be used for prevention, treatment and recovery programs or services. While we cannot bring back the lives lost to the opioid epidemic, the Assembly Majority is committed to expanding New York’s prevention and support programs and helping individuals who are struggling with substance use disorders.”