By JONATHAN MATTISE
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee attorney general says lawsuits by local prosecutors over the opioid epidemic are complicating his efforts to reach a multistate settlement with drug companies. In response, prosecutors say local communities lose out when lawsuits like theirs are rolled into one settlement.

In a letter last week, Attorney General Herbert Slatery told 14 Tennessee district attorneys general that their lawsuits impede his ability to prosecute, as his office leads a 40-state coalition investigating opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Slatery filed motions to intervene in the Tennessee lawsuits, claiming legal issues.

In a letter Thursday, the district attorneys general said Slatery is attempting to undermine their litigation. They noted that a 2007 settlement of 26 states and Washington, D.C. against Purdue Pharma yielded $19.5 million, with Tennessee receiving pennies on the dollar.

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