Soldotna’s ‘Candy Man’ doctor pleads guilty to overprescribing opioids

The front of a building with a line of street lights lead to a building. The sign above the entrance reads "Federal Building US Courthouse."
The James M. Fitzgerald U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building in downtown Anchorage. (Valerie Kern/Alaska Public Media)

Three years after he was first arrested, a Soldotna doctor pleaded guilty last week to a charge that he overprescribed addictive narcotics on the Kenai Peninsula. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Lavern Davidhizar has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and serve a year of probation.

Davidhizar was a practicing osteopath who owned and ran Family Medical Clinic in Soldotna. In 2019, federal agents arrested the doctor for allegedly prescribing 719,847 narcotic pills to patients since 2017, which they said earned him the nickname “Candy Man.” Federal officials said Davidhizar’s patients knew they could easily get pain medication from him, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, methadone and tramadol.

The plea agreement doesn’t mention most of those substances. But it said Davidhizar admits to knowingly distributing Oxycodone in a way that was “outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.” The plea agreement said the federal government will dismiss two other charges against him.

According to the original charges against Davidhizar, undercover investigators posed as patients with little justification for opioid prescriptions and gave indications of opioid addiction and abuse. Still, the charges said, Davidhizar prescribed them opioids.

Davidhizar has agreed to plead guilty in one of those instances, from May 2019. The undercover investigator was prescribed 42 pills of 15-milligram Oxycodone without medical purpose, according to the plea agreement.

A consulting doctor said in the original charges that a review of Davidhizar’s prescriptions shows he made over 11,000 prescriptions for controlled substances in fewer than four years, three-quarters of which were for opioids, which the doctor noted is “very high.”

Davidhizar was first licensed by the State of Alaska in 1978, according to the plea agreement. Since the charges, Davidhizar’s license was voluntarily suspended. The parties did not recommend reinstating that license as part of the agreement.

A judge accepted the plea agreement at a hearing Wednesday.

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