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Rutledge Announces Opioid Abuse Awareness Exhibit Coming to University of Arkansas in October

Rutledge Announces Opioid Abuse Awareness Exhibit Coming to University of Arkansas in October

Thu, Sep 13, 2018

Exhibit on display Oct. 3-9 at Arkansas Union in Fayetteville

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced she is partnering with the Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) and the Arkansas Municipal League (AML) to bring the National Safety Council’s opioid memorial to be on display at the Arkansas Union on campus at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville from October 3-9. The Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis is free to all members of the public, not just students at the university. Parents, grandparents and teenagers are all encouraged to walk through this moving exhibit.

The centerpiece of the multifaceted exhibit is a wall of 22,000 engraved white pills – each representing the face of someone lost to a prescription opioid overdose in the United States in 2015. Arkansas alone lost 401 residents to opioid overdose in 2016, and it has the second highest rate of opioid prescribing in the country – trailing only Alabama.

“I am proud to bring the ‘Prescribed to Death’ exhibit to the University of Arkansas campus because we are losing too many of our bright, promising young people to opioid addiction,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This powerful display is a resounding reminder of the lives lost in just one year at the hands of this deadly epidemic. I will not stand idly by as Arkansans are devastated by the scourge of addiction. I am thankful for the willingness of our city and county leaders and local businesses to work collaboratively with me to educate Arkansans so that together we will save lives in our communities.”

“Education about the dangers of opioids has been at the heart of the AAC’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in Arkansas. The AAC is honored to collaborate with Attorney General Rutledge, the Arkansas Municipal League, and other sponsors to bring the ‘Prescribed to Death’ memorial to Arkansas. We can share statistics, but many people are visual learners. I believe people will be profoundly affected when they see this representation of the number of lives that are lost to opioid overdoses each year in our country,” said AAC Executive Director Chris Villines.

“The AML’s desire and assistance in bringing the ‘Prescribed Death’ memorial to our state, along with the Attorney General's Office and the AAC, is representative of our organization's solid commitment to correct and fully recover from Arkansas's opioid epidemic,” said AML Executive Director Mark Hayes. “We all have personal and very painful stories concerning opioids. The wall, and the lives lost to opioids that are represented, will serve as an incredible motivating factor in furthering our efforts to prevent, educate and effectively treat this epidemic that has plagued our state.”

“The most important thing about this crisis is not the statistics, but the faces,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The data speak to our head but the individual stories speak to our hearts. The Prescribed to Death memorial not only brings visitors face to face with this everyday killer, but also encourages actions that will help us eliminate these preventable deaths.”

The National Safety Council launched Prescribed to Death as a part of the National Safety Council’s Stop Everyday Killers public education campaign.

In addition to Rutledge’s office, the Association of Arkansas Counties and the Arkansas Municipal League, the exhibit is underwritten by contributions from Stericycle, Nationwide Insurance, Walmart and EverFi. Visit StopEverydayKillers.org for more information. Other supporting partners include the Associated Student Government of the University of Arkansas, the Office of the Arkansas Drug Director and the Criminal Justice Institute, University of Arkansas System.

In August, Rutledge announced a new initiative, called #Rx4LifeStories, to allow Arkansans to talk about how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families. 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 73 schools, across 55 counties and reached over 7,700 students with an additional 17 schools committed to launch the program this fall.

Rutledge is also suing the 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.

Each year, Rutledge 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 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Hot Springs, with more than 800 taking advantage of early bird registration.

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

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Rutledge Announces Arrest of Two Arkansas Women for Medicaid Fraud

Rutledge Announces Arrest of Two Arkansas Women for Medicaid Fraud

Fri, Sep 7, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of Crittenden County and Desha County women.

“Those who take advantage of the Medicaid program will be prosecuted,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer, I will not tolerate people who abuse this vital safety net.”

Tylisha Pope, 28, of Marion, is accused of forging a physician’s signature on the paperwork for two Medicaid patients in order to authorize services. Pope is also accused of billing for services not rendered from October 2016 to January 2017, totaling more than $3,900. She is charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, Class C felonies. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Pope turned herself in to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department and was released on $2,500 bond.

Shirley Owens, 62, of Dumas, is accused of being married to the Medicaid recipient to whom she was providing services while submitting billing documents for her services, totaling more than $10,000 for services she was not eligible to provide due to the marriage. She is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class B felony. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Owens turned herself in to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department and was released on her own recognizance.

Both cases were referred to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit by the Office of Medicaid Inspector General.

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 oag@arkansasag.gov.

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Rutledge Hosts NWA Law Enforcement Training

Rutledge Hosts NWA Law Enforcement Training

Thu, Sep 6, 2018

Says, ‘I am proud to be able to offer these trainings around the State’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted a law enforcement training event in northwest Arkansas. The free training and educational opportunity for the law enforcement community, including police, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel was held at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.

“Law enforcement training is an important service I provide as Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am proud to be able to offer these trainings around the State to ensure that Arkansas officers are prepared and trained on a number of different situations to best protect our communities. I look forward to expanding these types of trainings in the years to come.”

Today’s participants heard from Drug Enforcement Administration Little Rock District Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King, Arkansas Department of Human Services Recovery Coordinator Jimmy McGill, Kim Arnold with the Arkansas Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Rickey Phillips with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. And from the Attorney General’s Office, participants heard from Deputy Attorneys General Chuck Harder and Will Jones, Nurse Investigator Vicki Jones and Special Agents Dane Pedersen and Michael Thatch.

Last year, Rutledge announced a new initiative to offer training outside of central Arkansas after the overwhelming success of the annual Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit. Trainings have been held in both northwest and northeast Arkansas, providing easier access to training for the officers. Registration is open for the 2018 Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit, to be held Oct. 2 at the Benton Event Center.

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Rutledge Announces Arrest of Warren Dentist for Medicaid Fraud

Rutledge Announces Arrest of Warren Dentist for Medicaid Fraud

Wed, Sep 5, 2018

Accused of falsifying dental records totaling more than $185,000

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Bradley County dentist.

Dr. John Durmon, 59, of Warren, is accused of purposefully falsifying the dental records of more than 100 Medicaid participants to fraudulently bill the Arkansas Medicaid program, totaling more than $185,000. He is charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, both Class B felonies. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Durmon turned himself in to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.

“As Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer, I will not tolerate people taking advantage of the Arkansas Medicaid Program,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will continue to prosecute those who abuse the system.”

In one charge, Durmon submitted 2,557 claims for X-rays for 85 Medicaid recipients from October 2016 through December 2017. Records indicate Durmon had not properly taken, developed, used or maintained X-rays as required by Medicaid program regulations. Durmon was paid a total of $153,077.95 for the claims.

In the second charge, Durmon submitted 637 claims for various dental services, including extractions, amalgam and resin composite fillings for 33 Medicaid recipients from September 2015 through December 2017. Records indicate Durmon charged the Medicaid program for those services, but the services were not provided. Durmon was paid a total of $33,383.05 for the claims.

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 oag@arkansasag.gov.

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ICYMI: The case for confirming Kavanaugh

ICYMI: The case for confirming Kavanaugh

Tue, Sep 4, 2018

Rutledge says, ‘He has a proven record of adhering to the Constitution and the rule of law, ensuring that the liberties of all Americans are protected.’

LITTLE ROCK – Sunday, an op-ed written by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge encouraging the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Nominee Brett Kavanaugh, appeared in the Arkansas Democrat- Gazette.

Very few decisions afforded to the president of the United States have as significant an impact as the nomination of a justice to the Supreme Court. Lifetime appointments mean that justices will likely serve on the Court long after a president leaves the White House, thus ensuring that their judicial philosophy lives on long after their administration.

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Americans knew that the next president would have at least one Supreme Court appointment, raising the stakes of the election. I am proud to have been an early supporter during President Donald J. Trump’s campaign, having served as a surrogate throughout 2016 and being the only elected official from Arkansas to be a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention. For me, President Trump was the obvious choice to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice, and he proved himself worthy of that trust when he nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch.

President Trump believes, as I do, that judges must ensure our government does not take actions that violate individual constitutional rights. He promised that if elected he would nominate judges who faithfully interpret and follow the Constitution as written by our founders and not invent constitutional rights by legislating from the bench. And President Trump has fulfilled that promise.

Since he took office, President Trump has nominated outstanding individuals to the courts at every level and at a record pace. President Trump is doing his part to ensure our judiciary is filled with judges who will interpret the law, not invent it.

The president has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. I have no doubt that if confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh will continue to use his extensive legal education and experience to protect the Constitution.

Judge Kavanaugh has a proven record from his days on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the country’s most influential federal court of appeals. One example of his commitment to the rule of law is his dissent in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, where he argued that shielding PCAOB board members from political accountability violated the president’s Article II powers, and the Supreme Court ultimately adopted Judge Kavanaugh’s approach.

Another example is Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent in Garza v. Hargan—a case in which I joined a multi-state brief seeking to protect the life of the unborn—where Judge Kavanaugh argued that the federal government cannot be required to facilitate an abortion on demand for an unaccompanied minor.

I am proud to support the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh. He has a proven record of adhering to the Constitution and the rule of law, ensuring that the liberties of all Americans are protected. In the 2016 election, President Trump promised to nominate well-qualified Americans who will faithfully interpret our Constitution as the founders wrote it, and with this nomination, the president has done just that.

The president has made and kept his promises to the American people, now it is time for the U.S. Senate to do the same: confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

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Rutledge Marks International Overdose Awareness Day 2018

Rutledge Marks International Overdose Awareness Day 2018

Fri, Aug 31, 2018

Launches webpage and social media campaign #Rx4LifeStories

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will launch Prescription for Life Stories (#Rx4LifeStories) today to mark International Overdose Awareness Day. #Rx4LifeStories is an ongoing initiative that will allow Arkansans to talk about how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families.

Rutledge will post videos of Arkansans telling their stories on her Twitter and Facebook accounts. The links on the website will show Arkansans telling their stories of the opioid crisis. Their words will drive home the sad reality that addiction and overdose are stealing an alarming number of young Arkansans who are leaving behind supportive and loving families.

“Who better to tell the story of addiction than the families, friends and individuals who have traveled this rocky path,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These individuals and families understand how hard it is to endure the merciless struggles of addiction, and in some cases, they have suffered the shattering grief of losing a loved one to these debilitating drugs. Today’s expansion of the Prescription for Life initiative is an opportunity for Arkansans to learn from our neighbors about the devastation of prescription drug use and abuse – in our homes, our towns and across our State. You too can make a difference by sharing your story to save a life.”

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31st each year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of addiction. The day also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose.

Drug overdose deaths are on the rise in Arkansas, increasing from 287 in 2015 to 401 in 2017, according to data from the Arkansas Department of Health. More than 40 percent of teenagers in Arkansas have tried prescription drugs and more than half of all teens report that it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets.

North America continues to experience the highest drug-related mortality rate in the world, accounting for one in four drug-related deaths globally, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that between 59,000 and 65,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, up from 52,404 in 2015 and double the death rate a decade ago. That is more than the number of deaths from car accidents in 2016. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of drug overdose deaths – six out of 10 – involve an opioid.

Prescription for Life Stories is the latest in General Rutledge’s multi-faceted approach to combatting the opioid crisis.

Rutledge is also suing the 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.

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 73 schools across 55 counties and reached over 7,700 students with an additional 17 schools committed to launch the program this fall.

Each year, Rutledge 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 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Hot Springs, with more than 800 taking advantage of early bird registration.

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

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