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Crime and Courts

Kansas Among States Investigating Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors

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Deaths related to prescription opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.

Kansas is among the 41 states that are working together to investigate companies that produce and distribute opioids. Deaths related to prescription opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the first of the investigations began last year.

Schmidt didn’t specify which companies are being investigated, but New York’s attorney general says the bipartisan group has subpoenaed opioid manufacturers such as Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Allergan. The attorneys general have also asked for documents from the handful of companies responsible for 90 percent of opioid distribution in the country.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 150 Kansans died in 2015 of an opioid overdose, including from heroin.

Schmidt says in a statement that it’s unusual to announce an ongoing investigation, but he believes public awareness of the opioid epidemic is “an important component in addressing it.”

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Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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