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Rutledge’s Eighth Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit Breaks Attendance Record

Says ‘by working together, I am confident we will continue to save lives’

HOT SPRINGS – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today welcomed nearly 1,300 people from throughout Arkansas and 14 states to the eighth annual Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The Summit served as a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, treatment specialists, pharmacists and educators. Participants heard from experts regarding prescription drug abuse training, prevention and treatment.

“As this event grows, it proves Arkansas’s nationally renowned work combatting the opioid crisis is having an impact,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Each year, this Summit expands the collaborative effort between federal, State and local resources, and by working together, I am confident we will continue to save lives and curb this crisis.”

Due to illness, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was unable to keynote the Summit luncheon. Jerry C. Jones graciously filled in sharing his inspiring and heartfelt story, motivating us to continue to advance our work in protecting and serving all Arkansans.

Those who gathered for the all-day Summit heard remarks from the Attorney General, Governor Asa Hutchinson and U.S Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Dak Kees. Breakout sessions were held on safe and effective alleviation of pain, dangerous drug combinations, neonatal abstinence and life in recovery.

The afternoon sessions included Naloxone co-prescribing educational training, tactical diversion, opioid prevention efforts and statewide advances in peer recovery.

Plenary sessions included a presentation about drug-endangered children by Dr. Cheryl May, Director of the Criminal Justice Institute and Thornton, Colorado Police Department Sgt. Jim Gerhardt. The day was closed out discussing overcoming the stigma with speakers Jimmy McGill, State Opioid Response Coordinator with the Division of Behavior Health, Gina Allgaier, Executive Director of Speakup About Drugs, Chris Dickie, CEO of Natural State Recovery Centers and Paula Cunningham whose family was impacted by the opioid crisis.

The Attorney General’s Office also partners with local law enforcement to host take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since 2016, 620 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected and safely disposed of– keeping them out of the hands of children and those with addictions.

Rutledge has taken a multi-faceted approach of education, prevention and litigation to end the opioid crisis. In 2018, Rutledge filed a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers that created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act. In April 2019, Rutledge filed a separate lawsuit against distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation for violations of the ADTPA as well as for negligence, creation of a public nuisance and being unjustly enriched by their business practices.

On the educational front, Rutledge’s first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program is offered at no cost to all high school students in the State to help them understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. To date, the program has reached 73 counties and almost 18,900 students.

In addition to Attorney General Rutledge, the Summit is sponsored by the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy, the Arkansas Drug Director’s Office and the University of Arkansas System’s Criminal Justice Institute. Other partners include the Arkansas Alcohol Drug Coordinating Council, Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas Division of Behavioral Health Services, Arkansas Medical Board, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas National Guard Counterdrug Program, Arkansas State Board of Nursing, Arkansas Prevention Network, Arkansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Gulf Coast HIDTA, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation, University of Arkansas at Little Rock MidSOUTH Center for Prevention and Training, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Rutledge Issues Data Breach Advisories to Arkansas Medical Providers

Says, ‘important to work with providers, hospitals and offices on these new laws to protect Arkansans’ information’

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today sent an advisory letter to medical licensees throughout Arkansas about their duty to report a data breach under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). The PIPA reporting guidelines, amended in July 2019, mandate that individuals, agencies and businesses notify the Attorney General’s Office at the same time as affected individuals or within 45 days if they experience a data breach that impacts more than 1,000 people.

“Medical providers and other entities carry some of the most sensitive material on our personal lives, and cybercriminals are ruthless in gathering this information to sell or use for bad purposes on the dark web,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It’s important to work with providers, hospitals and offices on these new laws to protect Arkansans’ information and good businesses in the State.”

Rutledge’s advisory highlights provisions of (PIPA) identifying the types of personal information that triggers the notice requirement if a breach occurs:

  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license number or Arkansas identification card number
  • Account number, credit card number or debit card number in combination with any required security code, access code or password that would permit access to any individual’s financial account
  • Medical information

An online form has been made available for individuals, businesses or State agencies to use to report a data breach to the Attorney General’s Office. The form can be accessed at ArkansasAG.gov.

If you are a consumer who has been impacted by a data breach, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.

‘Tiny House’ Contractor Faces Big Lawsuit

Rutledge files lawsuit on behalf of consumer complaints totaling more than $115,000 lost in unfinished homes

LITTLE ROCK – A “tiny house” contractor in Mountain View faces complaints by eight customers totaling more than $115,000 in unfinished homes and unreturned funds. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced multiple Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practice Act (ADTPA) violations against Scott Stewart and his company Slabtown Customs. Consumers claim Stewart demanded large deposits for custom-built homes and then failed to complete the work or refund the payments.

“No matter how ‘tiny’ the job is, contracts must be fairly followed and projects completed,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Families made an investment in their future that Stewart could not deliver. I don’t want another customer taken advantage of with the hopes and investment in a new home that never becomes a reality.”

Stewart’s work has been featured on HGTV’s Tiny House Hunters and FYI’s Tiny House Nation. He specializes in homes that are approximately 300 square feet and built on bumper pull trailers.

From 2012 to present, clients in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico and Pennsylvania claim Stewart required large down payments and progress payments of up to two-thirds of the full purchase price. When the completion date passed, Stewart would often offer a refund that was never fulfilled. Some customers have been waiting for their money or house for more than 5 years. The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County, Tuesday.

To submit a claim or learn more about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982, email consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

Rutledge Thanks Veterans for Service to Country

Says, ‘I want to thank our veterans and their families for their service, commitment and sacrifice’

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement in recognition of Veterans for their service to the United States.

“America is the land of the free because of the brave men and women who for centuries have honorably served our country in war and peacetime,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas is home to 219,000 veterans. Today and always I want to thank our veterans and their families for their service, commitment and sacrifice to ensuring the United States has the greatest military ever seen in the world.”

Rutledge Joins Multistate T-Mobile/Sprint Settlement

U.S. Department of Justice’s Remedy to Expand 5G Network in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced joining the multistate settlement that approves the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. Arkansas joins the U.S. Department of Justice and eight other states in the settlement that will make Dish Network Corp. the fourth nationwide provider of retail mobile wireless services. In addition to protecting competition, the proposed settlement will expedite the availability of high-quality 5G networks for Arkansas consumers.

“Arkansans deserve to have a level playing field when paying for affordable and reliable access to internet and cell phone services,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This agreement will help connect customers in rural parts of our State to 5G networks which will boost education and economic opportunities while safeguarding the industry from anticompetitive practices.”

The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division along with nine states sued to block the transaction between T-Mobile and Sprint earlier this year and have agreed to settle the lawsuit based on the proposed settlement. If approved by the court, the settlement would resolve the Justice Department’s and the co-plaintiff states’ competitive concerns.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, T-Mobile and Sprint must divest Sprint’s prepaid business, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint prepaid, to Dish. The proposed settlement also provides for the divestiture of certain spectrum assets to Dish. Additionally, T-Mobile and Sprint must make available to Dish at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations. T-Mobile must also provide Dish with robust access to the T-Mobile network for a period of seven years while Dish builds out its own 5G network.

Arkansas joins Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota in this proposed settlement.

U.S. Senate Confirms Rutledge’s First Solicitor General as Federal District Judge

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement after the U.S. Senate confirmed the judicial nomination of Lee Rudofsky to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

“As the Solicitor General in my office, Lee demonstrated daily his legal acumen, intellect, adherence to the original intent of the law, integrity and impartiality,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am confident he will be a fair and impartial jurist who will serve the people and our great nation well as a federal judge.”

In 2015, Rudofsky was hired by Attorney General Rutledge to be the first official Solicitor General in the Attorney General’s Office. In that role, he advised Attorney General Rutledge on several key proceedings, including defending the State’s decision to successfully terminate Medicaid program funding to Planned Parenthood. He organized a multistate, bipartisan and multimillion dollar lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court against the State of Delaware. He also successfully led litigation allowing the execution of convicted murderers by lethal injection. Rudofsky also implemented the office’s formal moot court program to prepare the State’s attorneys for argument and established a clear review process for appellate briefs written by other departments.

November
14
Thursday

Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will host the eighth annual Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The luncheon will feature a keynote address by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, chairman of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

The summit will include four breakout tracks: Clinical, Criminal Justice, Education/Prevention and Counseling/Recovery.

This is a free educational training opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Members of the general public may also attend and will have the opportunity to hear from experts regarding prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment.

In addition to the Attorney General’s Office, the Summit is being sponsored by the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy, Arkansas Division of Behavioral Health Services, Arkansas State Board of Nursing, Arkansas State Police, Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, Office of the State Drug Director, Rotary Clubs of Arkansas, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Arkansas State Medical Board and the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute, University of Arkansas at Little Rock MidSouth School of Social Work.

This event has been approved for 5 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and 6 hours of Law Enforcement Standards (CLEST).

Online registration closed November 4. However, you may register on site at the summit by visiting the help desk prior to 8:30 a.m.

For questions, contact Rachel Ellis at 501-682-3645 or rachel.ellis@arkansasag.gov.

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December
18
Wednesday

FOIA webcast

Arkansas Freedom of Information Act
10 a.m. to noon

The webcast will include “FOIA Made Simple” presentations by attorneys in the Attorney General’s office detailing responsibilities and rights covered under the act that relate to public meetings and documents.

This webcast, which is free and open to the public, has been approved for two hours of law enforcement CLEST credit. Two hours for continuing legal education (CLE) credit is expected to be approved.

Register

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