This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion.
Soldotna doctor Lavern Davidhizar has been arrested on federal narcotics charges, U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced in a Wednesday press release.
Special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Davidhizar, 74, alleging he illegally distributed large amounts of opioids and other powerful narcotics by writing prescriptions for patients without medical examinations and lacking medical necessity, the press release from the Schroder’s office said.
Davidhizar was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint that charges him with illegally distributing controlled substances outside the course of professional practice.
According to the release, the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint alleges that between 2017 and 2019 Davidhizar prescribed more than 700,000 narcotic pills, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, methadone and tramadol.
According to the affidavit, Davidhizar was referred to as the “Candy Man” because it was common knowledge people could obtain pain medication prescriptions from him when they did not have a legitimate medical need, the release said.
Search warrants were executed by federal law enforcement in the case on Tuesday. Davidhizar owns and practices at Family Medical Clinic in Soldotna. Since 1978, Davidhizar has been licensed as an osteopathic physician and holds an Alaska medical license.
“Together with our partners in law enforcement, we are committed to prosecuting the illegal distribution of controlled substances, whether the crimes are committed by medical professionals or street dealers,” Schroder said in the release. “The end result of their activities is the same: the creation of addicts, crime, and sometimes death.”
If convicted, Davidhizar faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment.
Law enforcement agencies continue to investigate Davidhizar’s prescribing history. The Davidhizar case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Corso and Jonas Walker.
Schroder’s office announced a second arrest Wednesday. Jessica Joyce Spayd, a licensed advanced nurse practitioner specializing in pain management and addiction treatment who owns a clinic in Eagle River, was also arrested on federal narcotics charges.
Spayd was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint that charges her with illegally distributing oxycodone, methadone and hydromorphone. Between 2014 and 2019, Spayd prescribed more than 4 million dosage units of opioid narcotics to just over 450 patients in Alaska, many of whom traveled hundreds of miles from Fairbanks, Utqiagvik, King Salmon and other remote locations to obtain prescriptions, the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint alleges. The complaint alleges that Spayd’s unlawful distribution of opioids resulted in the deaths of two patients. Law enforcement agencies continue to investigate Spayd’s prescribing history.