They announced last week that they had served subpoenas requesting information from five companies that make powerful prescription painkillers and demanded information from three distributors. Forty-one attorneys general are involved in various parts of the civil investigation.
The probe into marketing and sales practices seeks to find out whether the industry's own actions worsened the epidemic.
If the industry cooperates, the investigation could lead to a national settlement. Connecticut Attorney George Jepsen said in an interview that there are early indications that drugmakers and distributors will discuss the matter with the states.
"The advantage of the multi-state approach is that it's not simply about providing a paycheck for damages to states," Jepsen said. "It provides the opportunity to address broader policy concerns and industry practices."
Enjoy curated articles directly to your inbox.