Tuesday October 15, 2019

Virginia Doctor Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Illegally Prescribing Opioids

A Virginia doctor who prosecutors said ran his medical practice like an interstate drug distribution ring was sentenced Wednesday

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Virginia, Doctor, Prison
FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont. VOA

A Virginia doctor who prosecutors said ran his medical practice like an interstate drug distribution ring was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years in prison for illegally prescribing opioids.

Dr. Joel Smithers of Greensboro, North Carolina, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.

Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Day Rottenborn said Judge James Jones sentenced Smithers to 40 years. He faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum of life.

Smithers was convicted in May of more than 800 counts of illegally distributing opioids, including oxycodone and oxymorphone that caused the death of a West Virginia woman.

Virginia, Doctor, Prison
This undated photo provided by the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority shows Dr. Joel Smithers. VOA

Authorities say Smithers prescribed more than 500,000 doses of opioids to patients from Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio and Tennessee while based in Martinsville, Virginia, from 2015 to 2017.

Smithers, 36, a married father of five, testified that he was a caring doctor who was deceived by some of his patients.

Some patients remained fiercely loyal to him, testifying that they needed the powerful opioids he prescribed for them to cope with chronic pain.

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Smithers wrote in a court filing that he plans to appeal his convictions. (VOA)

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Bengaluru Doctor Hema Divakar gets Global Asian Award

Hema received the award at the Asian Business & Social Forum 2019 under the 'In Service of the Society and the Nation' category

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Asraf who works on contract in the hospital allegedly prescribed condoms to the woman. Pixabay

Bengaluru-based medical doctor Hema Divakar was honoured with the ‘Global Asian of the Year 2018-19’ award in Dubai recently for her yeomen services and contributions to the

, in India, said its organiser ‘Asia One’ magazine’s publisher on Tuesday.

Hema received the award at the Asian Business & Social Forum 2019 under the ‘In Service of the Society and the Nation’ category from UAE’s Trade Promotion Director Mohammed Naser Hamdan Al Zaabi.

“The award is conferred on those who stand out for vision, action and ingenuity and represent contemporary ideas to make global impact,” said the pan-Asian business and news publication in a statement here.

Bengaluru, Doctor, Hema Divakar
Bengaluru-based medical doctor Hema Divakar was honoured with the ‘Global Asian of the Year 2018-19’ award. Pixabay

Hema is also spearheading a healthcare initiative for the overall well-being of women, with affordable and quality treatment.

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“To be recognised with other achievers of Asia thrusts on me a greater responsibility and ownership to reform the women’s healthcare ecosystem in an innovative and impactful manner,” said Hema on the occasion. (IANS)