Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced on Wednesday that he is working with attorneys general from across the country to investigate whether drug manufacturers contributed to the opioid epidemic “by illegally marketing and selling opioids,” according to his office.
The action follows a suit filed in May by Ohio’s attorney general.
In Kentucky, there were more than 1,248 overdose deaths in the first half of 2016, a 25 percent increase from 2014.
“The single greatest threat to Kentucky is our drug epidemic,” Beshear said in a statement. “The crisis is killing our family and friends – this is the crisis of our times, and finding a solution requires everyone working together.”
Lawsuits have been filed against drug manufacturers and distributors in numerous other states and cities. Ohio’s lawsuit filed earlier this year is against Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Cephalon and Allergan. It alleges these drug companies misled doctors about the safety of prescription opioids.
Beshear’s office previously settled a lawsuit with Purdue Pharma over OxyContin. It provided $8 million from that settlement directly to 15 substance treatment centers throughout Kentucky.
From a different drug company settlement, Beshear’s office put $2 million toward expanding Rocket Docket programs that expedite drug cases and allow select defendants rapid access to substance abuse treatment.
Recently, Beshear joined a multi-state lawsuit alleging the maker of Suboxone, a drug used for treating opioid addiction, tried to monopolize the market.