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Moore and his allies hope to corral at least 25 states to exert enough pressure, collect enough evidence, and drive potential damages so high that it will be cheaper for opioid manufacturers to back down. (Photo: IRINA ROZOVSKY FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK)

Seven years ago, Mike Moore stepped from the 2 a.m. darkness into the light of a small home off Lakeland Drive in Jackson, Miss., to find his nephew close to death. The 250-pound 30-year-old was slumped on the living room couch, his face pale, breath shallow, and chest wet with vomit. It was his fiancée who’d called Moore, waking him in a panic. Now they were both screaming in the man’s ears, dousing him with ice cubes and water, and pinching him as his respiratory system began to collapse.

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