Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit Held in Hot SpringsThu, Nov 9, 2017
More than 1,000 attend – a record
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 Institute, a division of the University of Arkansas System, hosted the sixth 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, and gives an opportunity to hear from experts regarding prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment, and was attended by over 1,000 – a record.
“Prescription drug misuse and abuse continues to be one of the main issues concerning all Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This Summit is one more important avenue for those working to solve this crisis – medical and law enforcement professionals – to educate themselves about and identify new treatment and educational opportunities. There is no one solution, but there is one mission – saving lives. I am proud of the partnerships that have once again come together for this record-setting event.
“Solving substance use disorder issues is a complex and difficult issue to resolve,” said Director Lane. “It will require an ‘all hands on deck’ buy-in from every community. We must change society perception as well as the social norms to drug abuse issues. Being willing to change is key. The Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit is a great tool to bring a diverse cross section of stakeholders to the table to get on the same page. It is designed to empower them through knowledge and education to make the difference and become their community leaders.”
The all-day Summit began with breakout sessions to promote safe opioid use in presentations by Dr. Tonya Robertson with Baptist Health Physician Partners, State Drug Director Kirk Lane and Dr. John C, Kirtley, executive director of the State Board of Pharmacy. Stan Jones with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency also discussed the use and abuse of heroin and fentanyl and Dr. Karen Farst with Arkansas Children’s Hospital presented the Arkansas Prevention Network awards.
Rutledge hosted today’s luncheon, which included the keynote address from Lane, who was appointed to the post earlier this year. Lane has been committed to combating prescription drug abuse on the state and federal level for many years. He plans to announce the results of the October 28 Prescription Drug Take Back Day during the luncheon.
The afternoon session included a presentation on medication assisted treatment from Dr. Michael Mancino with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Naloxone from Lane and Kirtley, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program from Program Director Denise Robertson and Program Epidemiologist Jonathan Aram as well as a presentation on the Prescription Drug Overdoes Grant from Dr. Cheryl May with the Criminal Justice Institute. Plenary sessions included the Arkansas Action Panel featuring May and Tenesha Barnes, early intervention and prevention manager with the Department of Human Services and Deborah Motley Bledsoe, substance abuse treatment director with the State Drug Director’s Office. A parent panel closed out the day.
Rutledge has brought a first-in-the-nation curriculum to Arkansas called Prescription for Life. Prescription for Life features a digital platform to help high school students in the State understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. The program is free to high schools and more information can be found at ArkansasAG.gov. The curriculum is part of the Attorney General’s already robust prescription drug abuse prevention initiative. During 2016, more than 330 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at Attorney General Mobile Offices across Arkansas and over 160 pounds have been collected since the beginning of 2017.
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 Statement on Stay of Execution by State Supreme Court for Inmate Jack GreeneTue, Nov 7, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement after the Arkansas Supreme Court granted a stay of execution for inmate Jack Greene.
“With no written order or explanation provided, the Arkansas Supreme Court has once again delayed justice for the family of Sidney Burnett. I will continue to fight for justice for Sidney Burnett and to give the Burnett family the closure they deserve.”
Rutledge Announces Little Rock Woman Sentenced for Medicaid TheftTue, Nov 7, 2017
Says, ‘Wyatt took advantage of an important safety net’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the conviction of a Little Rock woman for theft. Jene Wyatt pleaded guilty in Pulaski County District Court and has paid $1,438.56 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund. Wyatt will pay the same amount in fines to the General Fund of the State of Arkansas.
“Jene Wyatt took advantage of an important safety net for vulnerable Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Investigators and attorneys at the Attorney General’s office continue to work diligently to stop this type of fraud.”
Wyatt, 39, of Little Rock pleaded guilty to Theft by Deception, a Class A misdemeanor for billing the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services not rendered in November and December 2016.
This cases was referred to the MFCU by the Medicaid Inspector General and was prosecuted in cooperation with the Office of the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.
To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, complete the online form at ArkansasAG.gov, call the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or email email@example.com.
Rutledge Statement on Departure of Communications Director Judd Deere to the White HouseFri, Nov 3, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that Communications Director Judd Deere would be stepping down on Nov. 17 after accepting a job at the White House to become the Director of State & Local Communications.
“I am thrilled that Judd will be able to use his talent and expertise to communicate to millions of Americans on behalf of the White House,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Since becoming my Communications Director in December of 2014, Judd has taken our communications strategy to the next level by working diligently to make sure Arkansans are aware of the services of the office and what is being done on their behalf to protect them from scams, criminals and an overreaching federal government. Judd has developed strong relationships with members of the media locally and nationally, something I know will serve him well in his new role. While I will miss his expertise and daily counsel, I am confident he will do an exceptional job serving the President of the United States in the years ahead, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
“Any new opportunity is exciting but especially one at the White House, and one I am honored to accept,” said Judd Deere. “Working alongside talented individuals like Hope Hicks, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Mercedes Schlapp, I am looking forward to building on the team’s success of communicating the President’s message at the state and local level. The people of Arkansas are fortunate to have Leslie Rutledge as their attorney general. Everything she does is about doing what is right for Arkansans and nobody is going to out-work her. General Rutledge has been my boss for three years, but also my friend and mentor. I will miss working with her and the exceptional team at the Attorney General’s office daily, as well as the best local reporters in the country right here in Arkansas.”
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Helena-West Helena Man for Medicaid FraudFri, Nov 3, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Phillips County man.
Brett Aaron Ford, 34, of Helena-West Helena, was arrested by agents with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and transported to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department. He is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony. He is accused of fraudulently retaining Medicaid payments for services not rendered, totaling $311.04 in August 2015.
Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attorney General, Press Association Publish 18th Edition of Arkansas Freedom of Information HandbookThu, Nov 2, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the Arkansas Press Association have published the 18th edition of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Handbook, which is now available online and in print.
“This edition of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act Handbook updates changes made to the law by the General Assembly in 2017,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I take great pride in knowing that the Arkansas FOIA is one of the most comprehensive at fostering open government in the country. I am committed to educating government officials, journalists and all Arkansans about the law to ensure our citizens have access to public information.”
"The FOIA Handbook has for many years been a handy reference for Arkansas's elected and appointed officials and for custodians of public records who have responsibilities under the state's Freedom of Information Act," said Tom Larimer, executive director of the Arkansas Press Association. "We are happy to again partner with the Office of the Arkansas Attorney General in producing this guide to the FOIA, and in promoting transparency in government at all levels in Arkansas."
The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act was enacted by the General Assembly in 1967 after a strong push from a coalition of citizens and journalists and with the support of then-Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. The bill passed the House and Senate without a dissenting vote. Gov. Rockefeller later reflected that passage of the FOIA was one of the most significant achievements of his time in office.
Print copies of the handbook are available upon request from the Attorney General’s office by calling (501) 682-2007, and electronic copies of the handbook are available at ArkansasAG.gov and at ArkansasPress.org.