Rutledge and Senator Cotton Discuss State and Federal Efforts to Combat Opioid Addiction and Fentanyl UseWed, Apr 4, 2018
Roundtable meeting held with law enforcement leaders and families impacted
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Senator Tom Cotton today discussed the coordinated state and federal efforts in combatting the opioid epidemic and how it has created a surge in the use of stronger drugs, like fentanyl, in Arkansas and nationwide.
“When Arkansans with opioid addictions can no longer afford to buy pain pills, they often turn to the street for heroin or fentanyl, which offers a similar high at a fraction of the price but at a much higher cost — their lives,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This is a multi-faceted problem, and I am committed to an all-of-the-above approach that includes more stringent punishment for criminal activity, educational tools to empower future generations to help them make responsible decisions about prescription drug use, and litigation that will hold companies responsible for the damage they have brought to our State.”
“Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous drugs there is. It killed more than 20,000 Americans last year and has been a driving force behind the opioid crisis in the United States. But while the epidemic has spiraled, our drug laws have been stuck in the past. The legislation I’ve introduced will make sure, when it comes to opioid distribution and trafficking, the punishment fits the crime. I look forward to working with Attorney General Rutledge and Arkansas law enforcement to protect Arkansans from these terrible drugs,” said Senator Cotton.
Rutledge is suing the opioid manufacturers who created the problem in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act. This lawsuit is just the newest step in Rutledge’s multi-faceted approach to solving the opioid crisis. Last fall Rutledge launched Prescription for Life, a first-in-the-nation educational tool 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, it has been launched in 49 schools across 44 counties and reached over 3,800 students with an additional 20 schools committed to launch the program this fall. Each year, Rutledge has partnered with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit, a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. And in addition to the bi-annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Rutledge began partnering in 2016 with local law enforcement across the State to provide prescription drug take back boxes at every mobile office, held annually in all 75 counties. To date, nearly 500 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected and disposed of safely – keeping them out of the hands of children and those with addictions.
Senator Cotton’s legislation aims to correct the disparity between the lethal nature of fentanyl and the punishments set in the U.S. Criminal Code. The legislation also provides guidance and funding to the U.S. Postal Service to purchase additional chemical-screening devices that can prevent the illegal smuggling of fentanyl and other opiates through our postal system.
Earlier Wednesday, Rutledge and Cotton met with families of Arkansans who lost their battle with opioid addiction. Also present were law enforcement, State lawmakers and county prosecutors during a roundtable discussion centered on finding a solution to this problem.
Rutledge Announces Arkansas Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers Alongside Governor HutchinsonThu, Mar 29, 2018
Says, ‘The reckless actions of these opioid manufacturers have wreaked havoc upon Arkansas and her citizens for far too long’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was joined by Governor Asa Hutchinson today announcing that she has filed a lawsuit against the opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo on behalf of the State of Arkansas. Rutledge and Hutchinson are united in their efforts to fight the opioid epidemic and will do everything in their powers to bring an end to this deadly issue, including legal action against the companies responsible for over-proliferation of opioids.
“The reckless actions of these opioid manufacturers have wreaked havoc upon Arkansas and her citizens for far too long,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will not stand idly by and allow companies to reap billions in profits at the expense of our health and safety. The marketing schemes and misinformation campaigns utilized by Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo are irresponsible and downright dangerous. This is a muti-faceted problem and we must take every action to solve it including holding those companies accountable that are responsible for the opioid epidemic.”
The opioid epidemic has devastated Arkansas and continues to cause lasting damage. The devastation began when opioid manufacturers intentionally started to mislead the medical community and public about the dangers of opioids. These manufacturers propagated use of opioids as a non-addictive treatment for chronic pain. This was a catastrophic lie. Rutledge is suing the opioid manufacturers who created the problem in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act. The suit is seeking restitution for the damage caused by opioid misuse, costs associated with ending the opioid epidemic and fines.
“Over the years, I have seen the drug fight as a community leader, as a member of Congress, as a federal prosecutor, as director of the DEA and now as governor,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “The opioid epidemic will not yield unless we continue taking critical steps to fight back. We have seen opioid abuse affect communities all across the country, including right here in Arkansas, and I am pleased that we are working to identify responsible partners who can make a difference in curtailing the abuse of opioids.”
This lawsuit is just the newest step in Rutledge’s multifaceted approach to solving the opioid crisis. Last fall Rutledge launched Prescription for Life, a first-in-the-nation educational tool 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, it has been launched in 49 schools across 44 counties and reached over 3,800 students with an additional 20 schools committed to launch the program this fall. Each year, Rutledge has partnered with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit, a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. And in addition to the bi-annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Rutledge began partnering in 2016 with local law enforcement across the State to provide prescription drug take back boxes at every mobile office, held yearly in all 75 counties. To date, nearly 500 pounds of prescription drugs and have been collected and disposed of safely – keeping them out of the hands of children and those with addictions.
Rutledge Joins Brief Supporting Federal Immigration Enforcement EffortsMon, Mar 26, 2018
Says, ‘California’s radical policies place all Arkansans and Americans in danger’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined an 18-state coalition to file an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The brief, led by the State of Texas, urges the court to block California’s attempts to shield illegal aliens by overriding the federal government’s immigration enforcement efforts.
“California’s radical policies place all Arkansans and Americans in danger,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These policies provide safe havens for criminals and allow dangerous activities to spill into otherwise safe neighborhoods both near and far from California’s borders. Our country is built upon the rule of law and politicians cannot be allowed to unleash unconstitutional chaos by selectively choosing which laws fit their radical agendas and are worthy of being enforced.”
This case involves several California laws that directly obstruct the federal government’s ability to enforce federal immigration law. The brief argues that, although California may disagree with federal immigration policies, Congress and the Executive Branch are the appropriate bodies for deciding national policies and that federal laws preempt State policies.
As attorney general, Rutledge’s top priority is keeping Arkansans safe. Radical immigration and sanctuary policies are a direct threat to Arkansas’s law enforcement officers, citizens and communities because they provide safe havens for criminals and allow easy travel throughout the country. These policies also set a dangerous precedent allowing state and local entities to simply select which laws they will uphold.
Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Rutledge is joined on the brief by attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia and the governors of Mississippi and Maine.
Rutledge Sets April Mobile Office LocationsMon, Mar 26, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for March.
Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and assisted nearly 1,000 Arkansans last year.
Rutledge believes in face-to-face conversations to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.
This year, the Cooperative Extension Service will be on hand at each mobile office to also provide information on the services they provide statewide.
Rutledge continues her partnership with local law enforcement across Arkansas to offer prescription drug take back boxes at each mobile office. Law enforcement will be at all mobile offices to handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Rutledge encourages Arkansans to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.
The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:
Tuesday, April 3
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Festinger Memorial Senior Citizen Center
751 N. Lakeshore Drive
Lake Village, AR 71653
Thursday, April 5
10:30 a.m. – noon
Mississippi County Cooperative Extension Service
217 Chickasawba Street
Blytheville, AR 72316
Tuesday, April 10
10:30 a.m. – noon
Craighead County Cooperative Extension Service
611 E. Washington Ave.
Jonesboro, AR 72401
Thursday, April 12
10:30 a.m. – noon
Nevada County Cooperative Extension Service
532 W. 1st S.
Prescott, AR 71857
Tuesday, April 17
10:30 a.m. – noon
Johnson County Cooperative Extension Service
129 W. Sevier Street
Clarksville, AR 72830
Thursday, April 19
10:30 a.m. – noon
Independence County Cooperative Extension Service
1770 Myers Street
Batesville, AR 72501
Tuesday, April 24
10:30 a.m. – noon
Phillips County Farm Bureau Office
1250 Highway 49
Helena-West Helena, AR 72390
Thursday, April 26
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Booneville Senior Center
545 Heritage Drive
Booneville, AR 72927
Rutledge Files Lawsuit Against TreatsieFri, Mar 23, 2018
Says, ‘I will not tolerate deceptive business practices’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed a consumer-protection lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court against Treatsie, LLC and its owners, Keith Hoelzeman and Jamie Walden. Treatsie continued to sell and advertise monthly, quarterly and yearly subscriptions for their gourmet candy boxes, but failed to deliver hundreds of the boxes or, in some cases, delivered the orders months late. The company also failed to refund subscription costs to customers who did not receive the goods they ordered.
“Treatsie and its owners swindled Arkansans out of their hard-earned money” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will not tolerate deceptive business practices that bring financial loss to Arkansas consumers and will do everything in my power to ensure that the parties responsible are held accountable for their illegal and damaging actions.”
Treatsie was an online store based in Little Rock that offered gourmet candy and similar goods. The Better Business Bureau began receiving complaints about the deceptive practices of Treatsie in winter 2015. Defendants report that the company failed to refund consumers for 5,712 orders for an estimated $154,644.70, including 145 Arkansans totaling $4,076.12.
Rutledge is asking the court for restitution for affected consumers, along with the cancellation of services, removal of any negative credit information from the consumers’ credit record and civil penalties and other relief against Treatsie and its owners, Hoelzeman and Walden.
Rutledge Reaches Settlement with Miracle MotorsThu, Mar 22, 2018
Owners must turn over vehicle titles and pay a $10,000 fine
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a settlement with Jacksonville-based Miracle Motors, Corp. and its owners for advertising the sale of used vehicles and failing to provide the vehicle title on the vehicle to Arkansas purchasers.
“Miracle Motors and its owners will be paying for the harms they caused by knowingly deceiving Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Illegal business practices that take advantage of our citizens will not be tolerated.”
Rutledge filed a lawsuit against Miracle Motors in January 2016 and stated that on numerous occasions the dealership advertised vehicles it did not own for sale, sold the vehicles to Arkansas consumers, accepted payment and failed to deliver the vehicle title in a timely fashion. The owners of Miracle Motors deceived consumers by misrepresenting the ability to convey titles to purchasers at the point of sale. These actions violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Used Motor Vehicle Buyer Protection Act.
Consumers cannot prove ownership without a title, leading to other potential problems and putting Arkansans at great risk.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Miracle Motors will provide customers with their vehicle titles, or, upon request by the customers, void the transaction and provide a full refund of the purchase price and return the consumer’s trade-in. Miracle motors will also reimburse the customers for any out-of-pocket expenses associated with attempting to register the vehicle without a title.
Miracle Motors and its owners must also pay a $10,000 fine to the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund.