Father who lost son to addiction reflects on $325 million opioid settlement

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Attorney General Jeff Landry announced a big step forward in the fight against the opioid crisis in the state.

In June, a 26 billion dollar settlement was reached with three major pharmaceutical companies. Lousiana is now getting 325 million dollars from the settlement.

“It takes education, it takes treatment. Which are just some of the examples but you may also take a look at the industry that got us here. In the industry, for too long, went unchecked and unquestioned about their involvement in the crisis we find ourselves in,” said Landry.

At a press conference on Oct. 6, Landry was joined by Danny Schneider Sr., a New Orleans father who lost his son to addiction in 1999 when he was killed in a drug-related shooting. Schneider showcased his journey on Netflix, with the popular documentary, The Pharmacist.

“Shortly before he died, okay, I had a discussion with him. At that time I didn’t know he was doing any serious drug use, but we talked about depression and we talked about his future. One of the things he said to me, that he armed me at the time, said, ‘Dad, I would like to do something to discourage kids from doing drugs,” Schneider said.

For the next 18 years, 18 million dollars will be distributed to 64 parishes in the state to help fund addiction recovery, treatment, and advocacy.

“It’s really a day to celebrate,” said Schneider. “It’s a breakthrough.”

In 2020, East Baton Rouge Parish lost 242 lives to opioid overdose. The city is on track to break those records. As of September, that death toll sits at 214.

“This is only part of getting us in a place where we can contain this crisis. This is a deadly crisis as Danny actually mentioned so adequately, said, ‘It’s basically stealing our generation from our country and Louisiana,'” said Landry.

Louisiana is expected to get the funds in 2022. Landry and Schneider said they hope these funds bring awareness to addiction.

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