NYS Senate and Assembly pass bill to establish opioid settlement fund, develop services

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FILE – This photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence in a 2019 trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation. In a resumption of a brutal trend, nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2019 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a new record high that predates the COVID-19 crisis. The numbers were driven by fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids, which accounted for 36,500 overdose deaths. (U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — New York State lawmakers have passed legislation that aims to establish an Opioid Settlement Fund.

On June 9, both Senate Bill S7194 and Assembly Bill A6395B were passed to “help end the opioid epidemic.”

According to both the State Senate and Assembly, the purpose of the legislation is to to amend the state finance law, mental hygiene law and the executive law to ultimately establish an opioid settlement fund and advisory board, and to act

This would insure that all monies received by the state as a result of a settlement or judgement in litigation against opioid manufacturers, distributors, dispensers, consultants, or resellers would be deposited into the settlement fund.

Additionally, this settlement fund would then directly support substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery programs and services.

This fund would also not replace existing funding for opioid services or support directed by New York State.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James commented on the legislation.

“Our state took a big step today in our efforts to end the opioid epidemic and provide justice to its victims by passing new legislation that will ensure funds recovered from opioid settlements and litigation will go where they’re needed — to fund prevention, education, and treatment programs,” said Attorney General James. “While no amount of money will ever compensate for the thousands who lost their lives or became addicted to opioids across our state, or provide solace to the countless families torn apart by this crisis, this bill ensures funds are used to prevent any future devastation.”

Senate Bill S7194 was introduced to the New York State Senate by Senators Gustavo Rivera and Peter Harckham, and Assembly Bill A6395B was introduced by Assemblymembers Carrier Woerner, John McDonald, Billy Jones, Jake Ashby, Karen McMahon, Judy Griffin and Mary Beth Walsh.

Following passage in both the Senate and Assembly on June 9, 2021, the bill will now move forward and be delivered to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

A full text of the legislation can be found online.

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