ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County, and counties across the state, will start receiving millions of dollars in funds to help combat the opioid crisis. 

This is the result of litigation New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office initiated against big pharmaceutical companies last year. James’ office is saying the money will be used for treatment, prevention, and education efforts.

The Finger Lakes Region will get more than $9 million dollars; $5.5 million of that will go to Monroe County and $390,000 of that will be going to the City of Rochester. All 62 counties in the state and the largest cities will be getting a total of $197 million dollars.

The breakdown of the funds for the Finger Lakes Region ($9,062,035) is below:

  • City of Rochester: $390,918
  • Genesee County: $423,876
  • Livingston County: $404,888
  • Monroe County: $5,597,620
  • Ontario County: $781,354
  • Orleans County: $246,260
  • Seneca County: $230,746
  • Wayne County: $592,953
  • Wyoming County: $245,544
  • Yates County: $147,872

James said this is by no means the end and more money is on the way. This is only one piece of $1.5 billion in settlements for the state. James says these funds will have an immediate impact on communities across the state, and she’s calling this a ‘milestone’ in fighting the opioid crisis. 

“This is the result of litigation that my office initiated against ‘big pharma’ for the destruction and the chaos and the devastation that they’ve caused, not only in New York but all across this nation. The devastation and destruction that has claimed so many lives and impacted so many families,” James said.

The attorney general welcomed and thanked County Executive Adam Bello and Mayor Malik Evans for their help in combating this crisis. Bello said these settlement funds will never bring back loved ones, but this money will be now used to help people. The County Executive says the money will be put in a local trust fund to ensure it all goes where it needs to, including prevention, treatment, recovery, and education. 

“In 2019, there were 181 fatal overdoses in Monroe County. That number jumped to 238 in 2020. We expect that number to grow when the final numbers from last year come out. These statistics though just aren’t numbers … they’re people,” Bello said.

Mayor Malik Evans said this is the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to fighting the opioid crisis.

“The opioid epidemic has been global in its impact, but the real human cost can be seen close-up right here in Rochester in our streets,” Evans said. “These legal agreements may seem big, yet they are dwarfed by the price our community has paid. Opioids have impacted every corner of our region.”

The Finger Lakes region will receive up to $53 million in total over the years as part of these settlements.