New York signs on to opioid settlement with Purdue Pharma

Candace Crupi's son Johnny died of a drug overdose in 2014. His addiction began with the prescription painkiller OxyContin.

"Losing John was probably the worst thing that ever happened," she said. 

Attorneys general in 15 states, including New York, announced on Wednesday a $4.5 billion settlement with the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, and its owner, the Sackler family, for their role in fueling the opioid epidemic.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy said it could be the biggest monetary settlement ever and that it is "a reckoning that exposes their misconduct, strips them of their power and provides money that will be dedicated entirely to prevention and recovery."

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As part of the agreement, New York will get $200 million to be used for opioid addiction prevention and treatment.

Purdue will dissolve by 2024.

"This deal gets one of the nation's most harmful drug dealers out of the business," New York Attorney General Letitia James said.

Purdue will also have to disclose tens of millions of confidential documents that officials say will reveal the scheming by company leaders to push an addictive drug to grow their profits.

"We are requiring Purdue and the Sacklers to disclose to the public more evidence of their deadly misconduct than has ever been revealed in any case in history," Healey said.

But under the agreement, the Sacklers are not admitting any wrongdoing and would get legal immunity.

"If I saw them go to jail, I'd be maybe satisfied," Crupi said. "Money is money. It doesn't do anything for me, it doesn't make me feel any better."

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Her reaction is shared by other parents who have lost children to opioids.

Michele Kunz's son Robert was killed in 2015 while trying to buy Oxy.

"When the drug dealer that killed my son had to stand up and admit he was responsible, there was closure for me and what this does is it doesn't give families closure," Kunz said.

The parents would like an apology from the Sackler family, something its members have refused to give.

James acknowledged that the settlement, which must be approved by a federal bankruptcy court, is far from perfect.

"We recognize no amount of money will ever be able to compensate for the pain and destruction we have collectively experienced," she said but added, "We'll be able to more quickly invest these funds in prevention, education, and treatment programs, and put an end to the delays and legal maneuvering that could possibly continue for years and across multiple continents."

Nine states and the District of Columbia oppose the settlement.