Patients of two providers recently arrested for overprescribing opioid drugs are asking what they should do now that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has deactivated their licenses.

Jessica Joyce Spayd, an Eagle River nurse practitioner, and Lavern R. Davidhizar, a Soldotna osteopathic doctor, lost their medical licenses and now pharmacies will no longer fill their patient’s prescriptions.  

According to a release from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the two practices served about 2,000 patients around the state.

Dr. Anne Zink is the state’s chief medical officer. She said there is concern the situation could lead to medical emergencies as people can experience withdrawal symptoms or even overdoes if they turn to illegal drugs.

“Unfortunately in other situations we have seen people turn to illegal substances in situations like this to try and manage their withdrawal symptoms,” Zink said. “And those come with additional risks that we are trying to mitigate.”

Zink said the state got no warning that the arrests were coming but that some of the systems to deal with it were already in place. She added that a lot of work is still going on behind the scenes to help find resources for both patients and providers.

“We’ve been trying to support the medical community who may be hesitant to take on patients on high-dose opioids, to provide them with resources and support to encourage them to take on these patients," she said. "We've been working with insurance, with Medicaid, with the state insurers, to make sure new assessments for these patients are covered. So we are trying to make sure this is as easy as possible for providers.”

In its release, the state said these resources are available for patients:

Always call 911 if it’s a life-threatening emergency.

To find supportive services, dial 2-1-1 to call United Way. Operational hours are 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. If you call after hours, please leave a message. Phone calls will be returned the next business day.  2-1-1 provides information and referral service that connect people to vital community, health and social services provided by a range of nonprofit, government and tribal agencies.

SAMHSA has a national helpline to assist with finding behavioral health support or substance use management, 800-662-HELP (4357), TTY: 800-487-4889. These calls are manned 24/7 and are routed to the DHSS Division of Behavioral Health during DHSS operational hours.

Help is available 24/7 through Alaska's crisis hotline, Careline. Call 1-877-266-HELP (4357).

 

Zink said theSAMHSA  hotline can help people locate pain management doctors in Alaska as well as Suboxone — an addiction treatment medication.

Providence Alaska Medical Center said their outpatient treatment program is also available to help people dealing with substance abuse. You can call 907-212-6970 to reach someone at Breakthrough for information.

Zink said she expects to have more information available for people sometime next week.

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