Alaska physician, NP charged with illegal opioid distribution

Drug Enforcement Administration officials on Oct. 8 arrested a physician and nurse practitioner in Alaska for allegedly misprescribing opioids, according to local NBC affiliate KTUU. 

From 2017-19, Lavern Davidhizar, MD, owner of a family medicine clinic, prescribed 719,847 narcotic pills, according to court documents cited by KTUU. Illicit drug users often called Dr. Davidhizar, 74, the "candy man" because "people could obtain pain medication prescriptions from him even though they did not have a legitimate medical need," according to a complaint from the U.S. Department of Justice. Police charged him with illegally distributing controlled substances outside the course of professional practice.

Jessica Joyce Spayd, a nurse practitioner, was charged with illegal opioid distribution. Her practice, marketed as an addiction treatment clinic, is shut down until further notice. The complaint alleges Ms. Spayd prescribed around 4 million doses of opioids to 453 different patients between 2014 and 2019. Nineteen patients died within one month of filling these prescriptions. In two cases, her prescription writing habits were identified as a "significant contributing factor" in the patients' deaths, according to the complaint.

If convicted, Ms. Spayd faces a minimum of 20 years to life in prison, while Dr. Davidhizar faces a maximum sentence of 20 years. 

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