MIKE LEE: Takes on Rutledge on opioids.


Mike Lee
, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, continues to attack Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for not fighting hard enough against opioid manufacturers.

He faults her for refusing to join — even trying to get dismissed — a class action lawsuit filed by all 75 counties against 65 companies that make or distribute opioids. She’s filed a separate lawsuit against three drugmakers that Lee contends is more limited in pursuit of the industry and won’t produce the rewards of the broader suit. He’s also faulted her for leading a political group, the Republican Attorneys General Association that has raised hundreds of thousands for political campaigns, including Rutledge’s, from drug makers.

Lee said the counties suit could produce money sufficient for solutions to the opioid crisis, including an expanded number of crisis stabilization units for people with drug problems otherwise sent to jails.

He said in a release:

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“We can help solve the opioid crisis by giving people struggling with opioids access to the services they need and by giving law enforcement options other than the county jail when they run into difficult situations,” Lee said.

McCrory Mayor Doyle Fowler spoke at the state Capitol press conference.

The Arkansas Republican Party rose to Rutledge’s defense, calling Lee a liar. It said she was investigating opioid makers and “working with the DEA” so fewer opioids would be made in 2019. The federal government, on its own, has reduced production quotas for the painkillers that are powerfully addictive.