Theodoros & Rooth has been following the stories of the opioid epidemic and the associated tragedies– many of which were prescribed recklessly if not illegally.
The latest breaking news on this topic involves an Alaskan doctor and nurse practitioner who are facing federal charges for illegally distributing millions of opioid doses to patients that resulted in addiction, overdoses, and deaths.
The Alaska U.S. attorney announced that 48-year-old Jessica Joyce Spayd and 74-year-old Lavern Davidhizar were arrested and charged separately with providing opioids to patients who did not medically require them.
Spayd, an advanced nurse practitioner, has been charged with distribution of narcotic substances resulting in death. According to authorities, Spayd distributed more than 4 million doses of opioid narcotics to 450 patients between 2014 and 2019.
Davidhizar, a physician, was charged with distribution of a scheduled controlled substance. According to the criminal affidavit, Davidhizar prescribed more than 700,000 narcotic pills between 2017 and 2019, and “was well known in the drug abuser community on the Kenai Peninsula.” Authorities say he prescribed so many narcotic pills that he became known by drug users as “the Candy Man.”
Prosecutors say Spayd and Davidhizar helped fuel the state’s opioid epidemic, prosecutors said.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration took notice of Spayd because of signals including patients traveling long distances, prescriptions written before previous prescriptions expired, and patients using multiple names and pharmacies, according to a criminal affidavit.
At least 19 of Spayd’s patients died within one month of filling an opioid prescription that she wrote, 12 patients died within two weeks, and five died either the same day or the next day, the affidavit said.
Undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agents posed as patients with signs of opioid addiction but “little pain justifying the opioids they sought,” according to the affidavit, which said Davidhizar still prescribed opioids to them.
Spayd faces a minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges, while Davidhizar faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Theodoros & Rooth takes irresponsible prescribers of any drug that results in injury or death to a patient very seriously. If you believe that you, a friend, or loved one has been a victim of this type of treatment by a medical provider, contact us immediately. We have over a decade of combined experience representing patients who have suffered serious injury due to medical malpractice. Your initial consultation is always free at Theodoros & Rooth and there is never a fee unless we win your case.