AUGUSTA — Maine’s attorney general is joining most of her counterparts in other states to probe the sales and marketing efforts of opioid manufacturers.

“We need to get the genie back in the pill bottle,” Attorney General Janet Mills said. “Our society is awash in pills and it is killing us.”

More than half of the nation’s attorneys general, hailing from both parties, have announced in recent days that they’re going to participate in the coalition to evaluate the role manufacturers of the prescription drugs played in creating or prolonging an epidemic that has swept the country.

More than 800 Mainers have died from overdoses of prescription painkillers since 2010, more than 600 killed using illicit opioids, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt said in a written statement that “a bipartisan coalition of a majority of attorneys general from across the country” is backing “an ongoing investigation to evaluate whether manufacturers have engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing and sale of opioids.”

He said the attorneys general will use subpoenas to obtain documents and testimony to determine the appropriate course of action to address the opioid epidemic.

None of the attorneys general, including Mills, have specifically identified which companies they’re looking into.

In Mills’ news release, she said, “We have to confront all sources of the opiate problem, no matter the origin.”

“It is now common knowledge that certain drug companies sold the public and medical community a bill of goods by marketing products as being nonaddictive, when in fact hundreds of thousands of people developed severe dependency to these substances,” Mills said.

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Maine Attorney General Janet Mills

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