CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The state of New York is handing out billions of dollars in opioid legal settlement money to help fight the deadly drug crisis. The overdose crisis has taken its toll on the Capital Region.

“I’m in remission for opioid dependency and so I go to a clinic on Central Avenue a few times a week to get methadone,” said Luke Grandis.  

Grandis the upstate lead organizer, VOCAL-NY says this crisis has impacted many walks of life.

“We truly need to shift away from a culture of criminalizing people for drug use and actually see it for the public crisis it really is,” said Grandis.

Attorney General Letitia James continued her statewide ‘HealNY’ tour of New York State with a visit in Albany County on Tuesday, where she announced that $32 million in checks will be delivered to the Capital Region to combat the opioid epidemic.

The funds come from different settlements Attorney General James has negotiated following her March 2019 lawsuit against the various manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid crisis.

The lawsuit Attorney General James filed in 2019 was, at the time, the nation’s most extensive lawsuit against the various manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

Attorney General James’ tour will make stops in dozens of New York counties throughout the month of October, with up to $1.5 billion in funds going to counties across New York state.

“You’ll see an increase in prevention and education in our local schools. You’ll see an increase in treatment for pregnant woman and people who are incarcerated,” said Attorney General James.  

Every region in the state will receive millions of dollars for prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.

Capital Region Total: $17,812,303.23 – $32,524,114.04*

  • Albany County: $3,237,298.22 – $5,725,907.53**
  • Columbia County: $552,101.82 – $964,528.42
  • Greene County: $666,825.42 – $1,164,951.91
  • Rensselaer County: $1,068,187.17 – $1,866,135.66
  • Saratoga County: $1,411,643.69 – $2,466,158.27
  • Schenectady County: $1,023,351.66 – $1,787,807.49
  • Warren County: $514,587.63 – $898,990.69
  • Washington County: $403,409.72 – $704,761.55

Attorney General James says the Capital Region has seen the dangerous and deadly results of addiction. She hopes the funds will be vital in helping to prevent future deaths.

“Albany County and parts of the city have been ground zero for the opioid crisis. We know that we have seen the numbers, the stats, and I know some of the families,” said she.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says enforcement is key.  

“It all has to come in together. Our men and women are out there every day to stop the flow of drugs into our community or its just going to continue,” said Sheriff Apple. 

Sheriff Apple says that starts with educating our youth.

“There is a lot of illicit drugs that we need to make our kids aware of. I pray that it doesn’t touch any more of our families,” said he.

Local oragnizers say they are working Governor Kathy Hochul to sign 3 bills to help putting an end to the opioid crisis.