ST. PAUL, Minn. — A group of Minnesota county attorneys are suing drug distributors and manufacturers over the opioid crisis.

The goal is to try to recover the government’s cost of dealing with opioid addiction, which prosecutors say increased when drug companies amped up their marketing for opioids as a way to treat chronic pain and for long-term use.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput says there’s a correlation between that marketing and the opioid epidemic that has killed hundreds in Minnesota.

The group says they expect about 20 of the state’s 87 counties to join the effort.

Several other local governments across the country have filed similar claims, alleging that manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids are largely responsible for the problem. Representatives for the defendants have denied any wrongdoing in other cases.