As part of an ongoing investigation into the nation’s opioid epidemic, Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that Texas and a bipartisan coalition of 40 other states served investigative subpoenas and additional requests on eight companies that manufacture or distribute highly addictive painkillers.

“Protecting Texans is a top priority of my office. The goal of this phase of our investigation is to collect enough information so that the multi-state coalition can effectively evaluate whether manufacturers and distributors engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids,” Attorney General Paxton said. “We’ll determine an appropriate course of action once it’s determined what role these companies may have played in creating or prolonging the opioid crisis.”

Attorney General Paxton and his counterparts served investigative subpoenas – also known as Civil Investigative Demands (CID) – on drugmakers Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities, along with a supplemental CID on Purdue Pharma. Separately, the coalition sent information demand letters to opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson. 

Opioids are a family of drugs including prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin. Nationwide and in Texas, prescription and illegal opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015, including 1,174 in Texas. Opioid overdoses in the U.S. have quadrupled since 1999.

In June, Attorney General Paxton and his fellow state attorneys general announced the launch of their coalition to determine whether drugmakers and distributors have broken any laws amid the deadly epidemic of opioid abuse.