Democratic Attorney General Nominee Letitia “Tish” James Releases Plan to Protect Victims of the Opioid Crisis and Stand Up to Pharmaceutical Companies

NEW YORK -- During a roundtable on the opioid crisis with law enforcement, elected officials, and healthcare professionals at the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island in Melville, NY, Democratic Attorney General nominee Letitia “Tish” James today released her plan to protect victims of the opioid crisis and stand up to pharmaceutical companies. Highlights of her plan include:

  • Appointing a dedicated Special Counsel to coordinate efforts to address opioid and other substance abuse epidemics in our communities and hold those who would improperly profit from these devastating addictions accountable;

  • Broadening existing litigation against opioid producers to hold marketers, distributors, physicians, and pharmaceutical company executives legally responsible for the harm they have caused;

  • Addressing conflicts of interest in the prescribing of opioids by passing legislation to eliminate financial incentives for doctors to prescribe certain drugs and mandating training about substance abuse and addiction;

  • Pursuing claims against those who defraud people trying to overcome addiction with unproven drugs, treatments, and practices;

  • Ensuring settlements and penalties are not just punitive, but make those responsible for the opioid epidemic become part of the solution by funding treatment facilities and compensating victims;

  • Vigorously defending New York’s Opioid Stewardship Act from attacks by the pharmaceutical industry.

To view the full plan, click here.

“Too many New Yorkers in too many communities across our state are struggling with opioid addiction -- and Long Island has been hit particularly hard. We need all hands on deck to save lives, and as Attorney General I will use the full power of my office to address this epidemic. From taking legal action against manufacturers, marketers, distributors, and executives to using settlements to fund treatment programs, we will not rest until this emergency is solved,” said Democratic Attorney General nominee Letitia “Tish” James.

In 2016, 3,086 New Yorkers died from opioid-related overdoses -- and 78% of them were the result of opioid painkillers. That year, nearly 9 million opioid prescriptions were filled in New York State. Nationwide, more than 200,000 Americans have lost their lives due to prescription opioids since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As Attorney General, Barbara Underwood has provided a strong foundation for Letitia James’ plan. She has sued Purdue Pharma (the manufacturer of OxyContin), taken legal action against the Trump Administration’s efforts to limit local law enforcement funding for the opioid crisis because of New York’s status as a sanctuary jurisdiction, prosecuted those who run “pill mills” that pump prescription painkillers onto our streets, and partnered with local law enforcement to address the epidemic.