Arkansans Turned Over 26,000 Pounds of Pills at Statewide Prescription Drug Take Back DayThu, Nov 8, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King, joined by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, announced that 26,529 pounds of medication was collected as part of the semi-annual Prescription Drug Take Back held on Saturday, Oct. 27.
“The Prescription Drug Take Back days are an important piece of my collaborative approach to combatting the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “By safely disposing more than 26,000 pounds of old, expired or unused prescription medications we are ensuring these lethal drugs are kept off the streets and out of the hands of our friends and neighbors.”
“The people of the state of Arkansas should be proud of their efforts during the recent Drug Take Back which resulted in the collection and destruction of 26,529 pounds of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge King. “Arkansas continues to lead other states in the region in the volume of drugs collected during Take Back, which is a testament to the outstanding efforts of everyone involved. We would like to thank everyone who participated in this critical event which makes our homes and communities safer, while raising awareness of the opioid epidemic threatening the people of Arkansas.”
Semi-annually a Prescription Drug Take Back Day is held with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, DEA, FBI, Office of the State Drug Director and over 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, community organizations and public health providers.
Event sites are held at various locations across the State but year-round locations are also available and can be found at ARTakeBack.org. The Attorney General’s office also hosts take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since the program began, more than 72 tons of medication have been collected in Arkansas, which is an estimated 201 million individual pills.
Rutledge Joins 21-State Coalition Supporting President Trump’s Energy PlanThu, Nov 8, 2018
Says, ‘Affordable Clean Energy rule returns power to the states’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced she has joined a 21-state bipartisan coalition in support of President Donald J. Trump’s proposed replacement of the so-called Clean Power Plan.
“The Obama-era Clean Power Plan was illegal and ignored concerns from the states about anticipated skyrocketing rate increases,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule returns power to the states by allowing each state to determine the best course of action for its own citizens, rather than a one-size-fits-all mandate from the federal government.”
The coalition filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing support of President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule and believes it will respect the important role of states in regulating energy and air quality. The rule fully embraces the intent of Congress for cooperation between the State and federal governments, correcting the Obama-era, one-size-fits-all model that would have a devastating impact on Arkansas ratepayers.
The Affordable Clean Energy rule restores each state’s authority to consider factors specific to the energy needs of the state, includes costs, practical achievability and the useful life of any particular power plant. It also adopts a more individualized approach to rulemaking, including that the framework of any replacement must set achievable targets for individual plants, which is a stark contrast to the Obama EPA’s effort to shutter coal-fired power plants.
The coalition, in remaining consistent with prior arguments, expressed some concern and offered a solution for potential double regulation created by the Affordable Clean Energy rule, but otherwise expressed its support.
Arkansas joined the West Virginia-led filing with attorneys general in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, along with Mississippi’s Public Service Commission and Department of Environmental Quality.
Planned Parenthood Agrees to Follow Arkansas LawMon, Nov 5, 2018
Says, ‘After challenging this requirement for three years and claiming it could not comply, Planned Parenthood has finally agreed to obey this common sense law’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a motion in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to vacate a federal district court’s order preliminarily enjoining Arkansas’s contract-physician requirement. The State’s motion followed Planned Parenthood’s announcement that they will comply with the state’s contract-physician requirement after claiming for three years they could not comply with it.
“The removal of the preliminary injunction will allow Arkansas law to take effect, ensuring that women have access to reliable emergency healthcare following complications associated with medication abortions,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “After challenging this requirement for three years and claiming it could not comply, Planned Parenthood has finally agreed to follow this common sense law. Protecting women’s health and the unborn is an important Arkansas value that I will defend for all Arkansans.”
In December 2015, Planned Parenthood sued to enjoin the contract-physician requirement on the grounds that it could not comply, and a federal district court in Little Rock agreed, preliminarily enjoining that requirement. Arkansas appealed that decision to the Eighth Circuit where the court unanimously vacated the district court’s preliminary injunction. Last December, Planned Parenthood then asked the United States Supreme Court to review the case, and the Supreme Court—without dissent—declined. The case returned to the district court, where Planned Parenthood once again claimed that it could not comply, and the district court issued a new preliminary injunction. Arkansas again appealed the district court’s decision to the Eighth Circuit.
Rutledge Offers Overdose Death Investigation and Prosecution TrainingFri, Nov 2, 2018
Registration is open for the Jan. 23 event in Benton
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a free training for law enforcement officers, prosecutors and coroners about overdose death investigation and prosecution. Rutledge is partnering with the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute to bring the training to central Arkansas.
“I am proud to bring this training to Arkansas to educate members of our law enforcement community about some of the more subtle signs of overdose deaths,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The number of overdose deaths in the state is staggering, but I am afraid there are even more not being reported because many people are unaware of issues that surround cases involving heroin and fentanyl deaths.”
Topics of the training include changing the mindset from accident to homicide, responding to and investigating drug overdose deaths, what evidence to look for, documenting the death scene, electronic evidence, witness and suspect interview techniques, search and seizure issues, legal theory and case development, intelligence gathering and sharing, officer safety when dealing with drugs like fentanyl, and case analysis.
The course will cover basic drug overdose death investigation techniques, discuss legal requirements and issues involved in drug overdose death investigations, address drug safety awareness particular to heroin and fentanyl, and highlight proper evidence handling and protocols.
Registration for the Jan. 23, 2019 event at the Benton Event Center in now open.
Attorney General Rutledge has been a leader in combatting the opioid crisis by using a multifaceted approach through education, prevention and litigation. Her first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program is free for high schools and over the last year has reached almost 11,000 students. This week, the Attorney General hosted the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit with record attendance, which provides training and educational opportunities for law enforcement, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Rutledge has taken an aggressive approach to protect Arkansans and combat the epidemic by suing Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Endo, opioid manufacturers who created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
Seventh Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit Held in Hot SpringsThu, Nov 1, 2018
About 1,000 attend
HOT SPRINGS – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today, along with the Arkansas Office of the Drug Director, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy and the Criminal Justice Institution, a division of the University of Arkansas System, hosted the seventh annual Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
The Summit serves as a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators which gives participants an opportunity to hear from experts regarding prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment, and was attended by about 1,000.
“Arkansas has been at the forefront of fighting the opioid epidemic, and I am proud to offer the training necessary for service providers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Working as an aggressive collaboration of federal, state and local resources, I am confident that we will curb this crisis and save lives.”
The all-day Summit began with remarks from the Attorney General, Governor Asa Hutchinson and U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Cody Hiland followed by breakout sessions about medication-assisted treatment options from Commander Karen Hearod, regional administrator with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and e-prescribing from Ken Whittemore Jr., the senior vice president of Professional and Regulatory Affairs for Surescripts. Tom Fisher and Justin King with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration discussed fentanyl. Maureen Vogel with National Safety Council discussed handling opioids in the workplace and Kristina Carnes with the Attorney General’s Office discussed the Prescription for Life program. Steven Blackwood; Paul Chapman, Restore Hope executive director; and Jimmy McGill, state targeted response opioid recovery coordinator with the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Aging Adult and Behavioral Health Services discussed peer recovery.
Rutledge hosted today’s luncheon, which included an update on Naloxone SAVEs from Arkansas State Drug Director Kirk Lane and a screening of the Emmy award winning “Saving a Generation,” by Laura Monteverdi, reporter with KTHV, also served as emcee for the event.
The afternoon session included an Arkansas impact panel with Dr. Johnathan Goree, assistant professor in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Department of Anesthesiology and Director of Chronic Pain Division; Dr. Corey Hayes, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UAMS and Research Health Scientist in the Center for Mental Health and Outcomes Research at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System and Associate Professor in the UAMS Department of Psychiatry and Program Director of the Center for Addiction Services and Treatment in the Psychiatric Research Institute. The afternoon session also included presentations from Lieutenant Detective Patrick Glynn with the Quincy, Mass., Police Department; Trevor Villines with the Razorback Action Group; Joe Martin with the Arkansas Department of Health discussing Dose of Reality; and a survivor’s panel.
Plenary sessions included a presentation about over-the-counter medications by Dr. Keith McCain, associate professor at the UAMS Department of Pharmacy Practice. A family panel closed out the day.
The Attorney General’s Office also partners with local law enforcement to host take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since 2016, 611.2 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected and safely disposed of by Attorney General’s office mobile offices – keeping them out of the hands of children and those with addictions.
Rutledge is partners on the Prescription Drug Take Back with the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, FBI, Office of the State Drug Director, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and over 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, community organizations and public health providers.
Prescription Drug Take Back days are just one step in Rutledge’s multi-faceted approach of education, prevention and litigation to end 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 101 schools, across 65 counties and reached over 10,900 students. Rutledge has a new initiative, called #Rx4LifeStories, inviting Arkansans to submit videos discussing how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families.
Rutledge is also suing the opioid manufacturers that created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
In addition to the Attorney General’s office, the Summit is sponsored by the Arkansas Alcohol Drug Coordinating Council, Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human 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 Submits Coalition Letter Against Allowing California to Determine Federal Fuel Economy Standards For ArkansasTue, Oct 30, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced six state attorneys general submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supporting President Donald J. Trump's proposal to improve the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.
“Once again, another state is trying to dictate more stringent fuel economy standards for Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “California has made no secret it is trying to establish a nationwide carbon emissions policy. I will not stand idly by as other states try to impose their unfounded policies on Arkansans, and I urge the USDOT and the EPA to move forward with President Trump’s proposed improvements to CAFE.”
President Trump’s proposal would improve—and bring national harmony—to CAFE standards. It is currently impossible to achieve uniform standards under federal policy, and one state should not be permitted to dictate more stringent standards than voters in other states believe is reasonable.
Arkansas has signed on to a letter with fellow Attorneys General led by Texas and signed by Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Carolina.