Families of Opioid Overdose Victims One Step Closer to Financial Compensation in New York State
The Opioid Epidemic continues to wreak havoc on families each and every day. The origins of this problem are still being understood and many of the questions asked of those who have lost loved ones as a result of this crisis are still unanswered. While nothing can bring back the ones they loved so dearly, those responsible must be left to pay the price.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday applauded the fact that the state legislature assisted in taking another step forward in the battle for restitution and compensation for the wrongdoings done to so many. James' office announced the passage of Senate Bill S.7194 and Assembly Bill A.6395B. The passage of these laws establishes an opioid settlement fund for families of victims. The law states, "all funds received by the state as the result of a settlement or a judgment in litigation against opioid manufacturers, distributors, dispensers, consultants, or resellers shall be deposited into [an] opioid settlement fund, and that such funds shall not supplant or replace existing state funding."
Attorney General James said in a statement regarding the passage of the law,
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. I thank Senator Rivera and Assemblymember Woerner, as well as the county and local governments, advocates, service providers, and families for working to get this bill across the finish line.
She also acknowledged the importance of this step being taken to end the epidemic and hold those responsible accountable. It was in March of 2019 that Attorney General James filed a lawsuit against several big pharma companies and those cases are now in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, but the trial against all other defendants is slated to begin on June 22, 2021.