The Missouri county that includes Kansas City is the latest municipality to sue opioid makers, distributors and pharmacies over what it calls the "worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history."

The Missouri county that includes Kansas City is the latest municipality to sue opioid makers, distributors and pharmacies over what it calls the "worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history."

Jackson County alleges in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court that the epidemic has burdened the county with opioid-related hospitalizations, emergency medical responses to overdoses, babies born in withdrawal, incarcerations and child welfare cases, The Kansas City Star reports. It says more than 300 people died of opioid overdose deaths in the county from 2013 to 2017.

"This case arises from the worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history: the misuse, abuse and over-prescription of opioids," the lawsuit says.

The suit names 33 defendants, alleging that they created a "public health epidemic" by using deceptive marketing and evading regulations on selling controlled substances.

"While the county has committed substantial resources to address the crisis, the opioid epidemic is nowhere near contained," the complaint states. "Fully addressing the crisis requires that those responsible for it pay for their conduct and to abate the nuisance and harms they have created in the county."

The first defendant listed is Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Oxycontin. Purdue has denied claims in lawsuits nationwide over the scourge of opioid abuse.

"We vigorously deny the allegations in this lawsuit" and look forward to presenting a defense, Robert Josephson, a spokesman for Purdue Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement Thursday. He said the county inappropriately substituted its judgment for the judgment of experts at the Food and Drug Administration.

More than 300 cities, counties and states had filed lawsuits against the opioid industry as of February and the number has been increasing almost by the day. The lawsuits follow a playbook similar to those filed against large tobacco companies that in 1998 resulted in a $246 billion master settlement to be paid out to states over 25 years.

A federal judge in Cleveland has convened settlement talks between many of the interested parties in the opioid suits.

At least 16 other governments in Kansas and Missouri have filed opioid suits, including Cass County in Missouri and Sedgwick County in Kansas.