Virginia's senators

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (left) and Mark Warner.

Sentencing delay for convicted doc

Dr. Joel Smithers, found guilty this spring in U.S. District Court on 861 drug charges related to prescriptions written out of his medical practice in Martinsville, will wait a little longer to be sentenced.

Smithers, 36, who is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum of life in federal prison and fines of more than $200 million, was scheduled to have been sentenced today by District Court Judge James P. Jones in Abingdon, but that hearing has been postponed to 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 2.

Brian P. McGinn, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Virginia, informed of the delay but did not provide a reason. Smithers remains in custody.

A jury spent eight days hearing testimony and took seven hours of deliberation to find Smithers guilty of one count of maintaining a place for the purpose of illegally distributing controlled substances, one count of possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances, and 859 counts of illegally prescribing Schedule II controlled substances. The jury also found that the oxycodone and oxymorphone Smithers prescribed to a woman from West Virginia caused her death.

Smithers, who had been living in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2015 opened an osteopathic medicine office on Commonwealth Boulevard in Martinsville. He was charged formally in August 2017.

Martinsville Henry County Coalition gets drug grant

The Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness was one of 20 organizations statewide that will divvy up $3 million in funding to support addiction treatment.

The offices of U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) jointly announced the grants. MHC will receive $166,978.

“This federal funding will help ensure that these clinics can continue to provide lifesaving treatment for addiction,” the senators said in their jointly released statement. “With many Virginia communities affected by substance abuse, we’re pleased to announce these grants to help clinics across the commonwealth tackle this crisis.”

No organization received more than $167,000.

This funding came from through the Health Resources and Services Administration Integrated Behavioral Health Services program, the release said.

— From staff reports

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