Doctor Gets 40 Years In Opioid Case

Doctor Gets 40 Years In Opioid Case

5:00pm Oct 02, 2019
Dr. Joel Smithers. Image credit: Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority

An area doctor convicted of illegally prescribing opioids has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. 

Joel Smithers lives in Greensboro but practiced medicine in Martinsville, Va. near the North Carolina border.

Prosecutors say Smithers ran his office like an interstate drug distribution enterprise. Authorities say he prescribed more than 500,000 doses of opioids to patients from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio between 2015 to 2017.

The sentencing follows a May conviction for illegally distributing opioids including oxycodone that caused the death of a West Virginia woman. The federal charges carry a minimum 20-year sentence and a maximum of life.

The 36-year-old Smithers testified that he was a caring doctor who was deceived by some of his patients.

He has filed court documents saying he plans to appeal.

Copyright 2019 WFDD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
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