DEA arrests Alaskan medical professionals for illegally prescribing opioids
An Anchorage nurse practitioner and a Soldotna doctor are facing federal charges for illegally distributing large amounts of opioids and other narcotics.
A news release from U.S. Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder announced Wednesday that special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration had arrested 48-year-old Jessica Joyce Spayd and 74-year-old Dr. Lavern R. Davidhizar.
Spayd is a licensed advanced nurse practitioner who specializes in pain management and addiction treatment. She owns an Eagle River clinic called Eagle River Wellness.
Law enforcement alleges that Spayd prescribed more than 4 million dosage units of oxycodone, methadone and hydromorphone between 2014 and 2019 to 450 different Alaskans. Some people traveled hundreds of miles from remote communities like Utqiagvik and King Salmon for their prescriptions, according to the release.
“The complaint alleges that Spayd’s unlawful distribution of opioids resulted in the deaths of two patients,” the release reads.
During her arraignment in federal court Thursday, Spayd was seen shaking. She will remain in custody, with a detention hearing scheduled for next week.
Spayd faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years to life if she’s convicted of the most serious charges against her.
Davidhizar is an osteopathic doctor and holds an Alaska medical license. He owns and practices medicine at Family Medical Clinic in Soldotna.
The DEA says Davidhizar distributed more than 700,000 narcotic pills, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, methadone and tramadol between 2017 and 2019.
“According to the affidavit, drug abusers on the Kenai Peninsula referred to Davidhizar as the ‘Candy Man’ because it was common knowledge that people could obtain pain medication prescriptions from him even though they did not have a legitimate medical need,” the release states.
Davidhizar faces a maximum sentence of 20 years if he’s convicted of his alleged crimes. He will be released on his own recognizance before trial, after voluntarily suspending his medical license.
Law enforcement is continuing to investigate Spayd and Davidhizar’s prescribing histories. Anyone with further information about them is asked to contact Anchorage DEA agents at 907-271-5033.
Schroder said there is a plan in place for the patients of both defendants who need care and current patients should call the DEA for information.
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