Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Dec 05 2017

Dear Friends,

Opioids are devastating communities across Washington state. My office recently released a report on the effects of opioids on the state, which includes recommendations for reducing the supply so that less Washingtonians will abuse this dangerous drug.

It’s time the Legislature take action to help mitigate the crisis. I will introduce three agency request bills in the upcoming legislative session, based on recommendations in the report. I believe these bills will make a difference in the availability of opioids throughout Washington.

In this issue:

Thank you for following the work of the Attorney General’s Office.

Sincerely,


 

 

Bob Ferguson
Washington State Attorney General



Proposing new strategies to combat the opioid epidemic

In June, my office held a summit on the opioid epidemic in Washington state. From information shared at the summit, my office, along with the Washington State Patrol and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, created a report, which we released this November. Our report recommends specific policies to reduce the supply of opioids in the state, outlining a comprehensive approach that addresses prevention, treatment and enforcement.

The report reinforces the fact that the opioid epidemic is devastating Washington families. Based on recommendations from the report, I will be proposing three bills this session: a bill that requires that providers check our state’s prescription-monitoring database before prescribing opioids, a bill that limits the number of opioids a provider can initially prescribe and another bill that gives my office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit more law enforcement authority in Medicaid fraud cases including opioids.

It is time for our Legislature to take action and implement new strategies to curb this epidemic.

 

“While regulating the flow of prescription drugs from doctors’ offices won’t eliminate opioid addiction by itself, it is an important part of the multifaceted approach policymakers must pursue to combat a crisis that has already taken too many lives.” – The Seattle Times Editorial Board 
Pass common-sense rules for doctors prescribing opioids

“It’s past time to convert words into deeds, declarations into actions.” – The News Tribune Editorial Board 
Opioid fight requires more than words

KOMO News 
State AG Wants New Laws to Fight Opioid Epidemic

KING-5 
‘It's a crisis': AG wants new opioid laws

Inlander 
Washington AG proposes solutions to the state's skyrocketing opioid crisis



Holding companies accountable to data breach notification laws

Washington state law requires individuals, businesses and local and state government agencies to report data breaches that affect more than 500 Washingtonians to my office and consumers within 45 days. Consumers have a right to know that their data has been compromised, which is why my office updated our data breach laws in 2015.

This month, my office received notice of a breach affecting nearly 11,000 Washington drivers for the ride-sharing company, Uber. That breach occurred in November 2016, about 372 days before the company notified us. Uber’s excuse for missing the deadline by more than 300 days? The company had paid the hackers who breached their security to destroy the personal data they had.

Uber’s conduct is truly shocking. These consumers had a right to know that hackers had gotten ahold of their personal information, whether or not Uber believed it had been destroyed. The law is clear: report data breaches or face the consequences. 

 

“If Uber’s lapse in judgment and ignoring the law is allowed to stand, other companies could see it as an invitation to do the same.” – Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Editorial Board 
State AG right to hold Uber accountable

“Cheers: To accountability… The dedication of Ferguson and his staff to protecting the public is admirable.” – The Columbian Editorial Board 
In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Seattle PI 
Connelly: AG Ferguson sues Uber over data breach resulting in 'thousands of violations'

KING-5 
Washington state suing Uber over data breach



Working Across Washington

The holidays bring out the giving spirit in many people. They also bring out scammers looking to take advantage of your generosity. My office works year-round to find and prosecute criminals who trick consumers into emptying their wallets. This month, I worked with AARP and the Secretary of State’s Office to make sure you know how to spot and avoid fraud.

Scammers often mimic real charities and veteran services to deceive you. Secretary of State Kim Wyman and I spoke with news stations around Seattle to let people know they should do their homework before donating to the causes they care about. Never give in to high-pressure tactics or aggressive solicitors, and always research how charities or fundraisers will use your money before you give. Fake charities often pop up around the holidays and natural disasters, and often pretend to benefit police, fire departments or the military.

Veteran scams are also pervasive – around 78 percent of veterans in a recent survey by AARP received scam pitches related to their military service. AARP and I spoke with New Day Northwest to let you know the kind of scams you should watch out for, including military service records scams and health benefits scams.

 

KOMO News 
Here's how to make sure your donation to charity will be well spent

New Day Northwest 
New scams target military veterans

AARP 
Scams Targeting Veterans


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