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Rutledge Offers Overdose Death Investigation and Prosecution Training

Rutledge Offers Overdose Death Investigation and Prosecution Training

Fri, 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.

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Seventh Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit Held in Hot Springs

Seventh Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit Held in Hot Springs

Thu, 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.

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Rutledge Submits Coalition Letter Against Allowing California to Determine Federal Fuel Economy Standards For Arkansas

Rutledge Submits Coalition Letter Against Allowing California to Determine Federal Fuel Economy Standards For Arkansas

Tue, 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.

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Rutledge Attends Legislation Signing Ceremony at White House to Combat the Opioid Crisis

Rutledge Attends Legislation Signing Ceremony at White House to Combat the Opioid Crisis

Wed, Oct 24, 2018

Says, ‘Fighting the opioid crisis is a priority of mine as Attorney General’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today participated in a bill signing ceremony at the White House in the East Room where President Donald J. Trump signed legislation to continue the federal government’s commitment to combatting the opioid crisis.

“I was honored to join President Trump and represent Arkansans as he signed legislation that will directly help individuals impacted by opioid addiction,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Fighting the opioid crisis is a priority of mine as Attorney General. My office takes a multi-faceted approach to combatting this devastating epidemic by focusing on prevention, treatment and litigation.”

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act is the largest legislative effort in history to address the opioid crisis. The legislation will help lift people out of addiction, help keep illicit drugs out of our communities, expand public awareness and prevention initiatives to stop addiction before it starts and save lives.

In October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national Public Health Emergency.

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.

Rutledge also partners with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit. The summit is a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. The seventh annual Summit is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Hot Springs with more than 1,000 already registered.

Each year, Rutledge partners with federal and state agencies for the biannual National Take Back Day, coming up Oct. 27 at various locations throughout the State. Since 2016, more than 600 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at Attorney General Mobile Offices across Arkansas.

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 self-paced modular course uses video, animations, simulations and interactivity to deliver a personalized, self-guided learning experience. The real-life simulations demonstrate the impact misuse can have on students’ physical and mental health, relationships and future goals while the scenario-based exercises help students practice how to support other students in their choices regarding the safe use of prescription drugs. The course is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Education Standards and State academic standards.

In August, Rutledge announced a new initiative, #Rx4LifeStories, to allow Arkansans to talk about how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families.

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Rutledge Launches Prescription for Life in Lonoke County

Rutledge Launches Prescription for Life in Lonoke County

Tue, Oct 23, 2018

Program now in 85 schools, reaching over 9,500 students

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today provided an update on her first-in-the-nation education initiative “Prescription for Life” which expanded to the Cabot school district during national Red Ribbon Week. Attorney General Rutledge was joined today by law enforcement and education leaders to kick off the program in Lonoke County. Prescription for Life is now active in 85 schools in 61 counties, reaching a total of 9,535 students across Arkansas. Another 25 schools have committed to using Prescription for Life.

“One year ago, we launched Prescription for Life,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “And this year we celebrate the program’s huge success during Red Ribbon Week to bring awareness about the dangers of drug abuse. Prescription for Life is making a difference in our schools and educating teens about opioid abuse and misuse.”

Joining Attorney General Rutledge were Diane Upchurch, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Little Rock; U.S. Attorney Duane (Dak) Kees, Western District of Arkansas; Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham; Cabot Police Chief Jackie Davis; Supervisory Special Agent Nate Koen, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; Cabot Schools Superintendent Tony Thurman and officials with Everfi and Walmart.

Additionally, Rutledge is collaborating with the FBI and DEA to coordinate statewide screenings of the film “Chasing the Dragon” for students Oct. 24. “Chasing the Dragon” is a documentary produced by the FBI and DEA, which exposes the truth behind the opioid epidemic devastating communities in Arkansas and across the United States.

Rutledge also partners with federal and state agencies for the biannual National Take Back Day, coming up Oct. 27 at various locations throughout the State. Since 2016, more than 600 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at Attorney General Mobile Offices across Arkansas.

Each year, Rutledge also partners with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit. The summit is a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. The seventh annual Summit is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Hot Springs, with more than 1,000 already registered.

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 self-paced modular course uses video, animations, simulations and interactivity to deliver a personalized, self-guided learning experience. The real-life simulations demonstrate the impact misuse can have on students’ physical and mental health, relationships and future goals while the scenario-based exercises help students practice how to support other students in their choices regarding the safe use of prescription drugs. The course is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Education Standards and State academic standards.

In August, Rutledge announced a new initiative, #Rx4LifeStories, to allow Arkansans to talk about how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families.

Rutledge is also 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.

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Rutledge Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Arkansas Pharmacies from Negative Reimbursements

Rutledge Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Arkansas Pharmacies from Negative Reimbursements

Mon, Oct 22, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Act 900 of 2015—an Arkansas law requiring pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to reimburse pharmacies for dispensing prescriptions to insured individuals at pharmacies’ wholesale inventory costs at a minimum.

“Many Arkansans rely on pharmacies as their frontline healthcare provider,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These same pharmacies are experiencing financial losses at the hands of middlemen PBMs that set pharmacy reimbursements so low that local pharmacies operate at a loss or are forced out of business. I will always protect Arkansans and small businesses from unfair business practices and ensure there is prescription drug pricing transparency in Arkansas.”

In 2015, the Arkansas General Assembly enacted Act 900 regulating reimbursement rates paid by PBMs that verify benefits and manage financial transactions among pharmacies, healthcare payors and patients. Prior to this action, PBMs provided below-cost, or negative, reimbursements for a significant number of prescriptions. These negative reimbursements have contributed to the closure of more than 16% of rural, independent pharmacies over the past 15 years nationwide and the closure of 12% of Arkansas’s independent pharmacies since 2006.

Rutledge’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court comes after a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that Act 900 was partially preempted by the Medicaid Part D and federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

For a copy of the petition, click here.

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