NEW YORK NOW – New York Attorney General Letitia James, who some consider a potential gubernatorial candidate, kicked off a statewide tour Monday to announce the distribution of funds to help prevent opioid overdoses.
James’ first stop was at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, and the second was at the THRIVE Long Island Center. That kicked off her ‘HealNY’ statewide tour, which her office said will continue throughout this month.
That tour will largely be focused on up to $1.5 billion to be distributed to municipalities, based on the impact of the overdose epidemic on each area. The money will come from a $4.5 billion settlement reached earlier this year with Purdue Pharma, and the Sackler family.
The exact timing for the distribution of those funds is not clear, but James said there is ongoing legal action, which could lead to even more funding.
“We’re currently on trial on Long Island… and we are in negotiations with them, but there currently is a trial, and in addition to that, we are still trying to negotiate and get additional funds,” James said.
“There are some state Attorneys General that objected to the settlement, part of it is because they’re seeking additional funds from the Sackler Family, and Purdue Pharma.”
Bronx Borough Ruben Diaz Jr. gave some specifics on how the epidemic has affected the people in his borough and his life.
“Have you ever buried two uncles because of substance abuse? Have you ever had a video of your third uncle posted up on social media, leaning over, almost overdosed? Have you ever been to 149th Street and saw your cousin…and she doesn’t recognize you… Well you know what, I have,” Diaz Jr said.
“This shows that no one, no family, has been immune, or safe from this,”
James’ first event happened at the same time as another event held by New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs, where he endorsed Gov. Kathy Hochul for a full term. She did not take off-topic questions.
“I’m not talking about politics, I’m talking about lives today,” James said.
James has not officially announced a run for governor, but did deliver a campaign-style speech last week, causing speculation about her political aspirations.