Psychiatrist Marc Spelar, Indicted in Federal Opioid Bust, Was on Probation for 2017 Drug Conviction

April 19, 2019

West Virginia psychiatrist Marc Spelar was among 60 medical practitioners and others indicted earlier this week in a five-state federal crackdown on illegal opioid prescribing—The Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Surge (ARPO Surge), noted as being the largest investigation of its kind in U.S. history.

Spelar graduated from the University of Toledo in 2009 and began a medical residency in general surgery in June 30, 2010 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In December 2012, he began a second residency, in psychiatry, at the Charleston Area Medical Center in West Virginia. The state of West Virginia granted him a full medical license in May 2013.

Now, less than six years later, at age 37, this psychiatrist’s medical career is all but over.

Spelar was already serving a four-year probation for another drug-related crime when he was indicted.

Spelar and his girlfriend Melissa Jones were arrested May 16, 2017 at a Holiday Inn Express in Ironton, Ohio on charges of drug trafficking and child endangerment. The incident began when the couple remained inside their room an hour past check-out time, refusing to leave. Smelling marijuana smoke coming from the room, staff then contacted the police.

When Ironton Police entered the suite, they found Spelar and Jones inside. They also found more than a dozen prescription bottles, drug paraphernalia, marijuana and two children—one age 11, the other, approximately five months. It was later determined that the 11-year-old was Jones’ daughter and the five-month-old was the child of someone who was helping Jones and Spelar pack up and leave.

Police conducted drug tests on the scene and determined that cocaine was present. They also reported finding several prescription pads and unfilled prescriptions in the room.

Though arrested in Ohio, Spelar’s business, Prometheus Mentis Psych, LLC is located in Milton, West Virginia.

On May 18, 2017, criminal complaints were filed against Spelar in Lawrence County, Ohio for the following:

  • Endangering the welfare of a child
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia, including new and used syringes
  • Illegal possession of marijuana and packaged marijuana for distribution
  • Illegal possession of acetaminophen and hydrocodone
  • Illegal possession of cocaine.

Spelar was taken into custody in Ironton and placed in the Lawrence County Jail, where he was assaulted by other inmates. He was hospitalized and released on his own recognizance but failed to report back to the jail. He was arrested in June 2017 in Boyd County, Kentucky at the home of Jones’ mother and was jailed again.

In the midst of these events, the West Virginia Board of Medicine issued an order prohibiting Spelar from practicing medicine in any capacity in the state.  

Spelar was tried in Lawrence County in October 2017 and was found guilty of two counts of fifth-degree felony possession of drugs. He was sentenced to four years of community control with intensive supervision until 2021. His supervision was transferred from Lawrence County, Ohio to Boyd County, Kentucky, where he was then living.

According to documents released by the Department of Justice, the U.S. District for the Southern District of West Virginia indicted Spelar on April 2, 2019 on 10 counts for allegedly distributing Schedule II narcotics beyond the bounds of his medical practice to a single patient between October 2016 and April 2017. These controlled substances included dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, and amphetamine salt, to a patient who did not have a medical need for the drugs and whom the doctor never examined.

Source: Indictment, USA v. Marc J. Spelar, M.D., Case 3:19-CR-00101, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West. Virginia, April 2, 2019; “Medical professionals in West Virginia, 4 other states, indicted for illegally prescribing pain pills,” MetroNews (WV), April 17, 2019; Consent Order in re: Marc Jonathan Spelar, M.D., West Virginia Board of Medicine, August 23, 2017; “Doctor arrested on drug, child endangerment charges,” WSAZ TV-3 (Ironton, OH), May 17, 2017; and “Doctor caught in crackdown: Spelar was convicted in 2017 for drug activity,” Irontown Tribune, April 18, 2019. 


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