(Albany) - Today, State Senator Gustavo Rivera released the following statement after his bill (S.7194) to create an Opioid Settlement Fund passed the State Senate:
"New York State, like much of the country, has been ravaged by the opioid epidemic even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these crises compounded and there has been a dramatic spike in substance use disorders, overdose, and death.
Unfortunately, programs that address the needs of individuals who use drugs, including those providing prevention, harm reduction, mental health, substance use disorder treatment, and housing, have been struggling for years from budget cuts and increased costs.
The Opioid Settlement Fund established by this bill will ensure that the monies obtained from pending lawsuits and enforcement actions, filed against those corporations that financially benefited from our country’s opioid epidemic, are rightfully dedicated towards substance use disorder prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services.
It is critical that any money obtained from these lawsuits be used to address the harms caused by drug use and by the ways in which drug laws have been enforced. With this bill, we will empower the programs and services that serve as a lifeline to so many New Yorkers navigating the difficult and complex journey that is to suffer from a substance use disorder.
I want to thank Attorney General James for spearheading our State's righteous efforts to hold these manufacturers accountable and empower the programs and services that serve as a lifeline to so many New Yorkers navigating the difficult and complex journey that is substance use disorder."
Watch my floor speech here.