NY lawmakers approve bill requiring money from opioid settlements to go toward treatment, prevention
State lawmakers approved a bill in the fight against the opioid epidemic, requiring all funds from opioid court settlements to go toward drug treatment and prevention.
The state previously received $32 million from one settlement, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo put that money in the general fund.
The move infuriated those who are in recovery and the families of people who died from opioid addiction, including a Kings Park woman who lost her son.
"You can go to treatment a hundred times, but if you come out and you're still homeless, or you still don't have a job, or you still don't have access to things that help with daily living, then what have we done for you?" asks Linda Ventura.
Ventura's 21-year-old son Thomas died of an overdose one day after being released from a rehab center. She was an advocate who lobbied for the bill.
Now every cent must be spent on drug treatment and prevention efforts.
New York state is expected to receive between $500 million and $800 million over the next 10 years from multiple court settlements involving manufacturers of opioids. Numerous lawsuits accused them of downplaying the addictive nature of their products.
Experts say prevention programs in schools and treatment programs for those in recovery are sorely needed.