An Alabama doctor is accused of illegally prescribing drugs that contributed to the overdose death of longtime 3 Doors Down guitarist Matt Roberts earlier this year, court documents show.
Dr. Richard Snellgrove of Fairhope, Alabama, is charged with illegally prescribing fentanyl, an opioid pain medication, and another drug to Roberts days before he was found dead of an overdose in August in Wisconsin at the age of 38.
Snellgrove, 59, was named in a six-count federal indictment in October and was indicted on November 16, according to court documents.
The charges were not made public until a judge unsealed them last week.
Dr. Richard Snellgrove (left) is charged with illegally prescribing fentanyl, an opioid pain medication, and another drug to 3 Doors Down guitarist Matt Roberts (right) days before he was found dead of an overdose in August in Wisconsin at the age of 38
Snellgrove is believed to have prescribed controlled substances to Roberts for ‘no legitimate medical purposes and outside the usual course of professional practice,’ a sworn statement by Drug Enforcement Administration agent Michael Burt said.
An attorney representing Snellgrove, Dennis Knizley, said on Wednesday that the physician did nothing wrong.
‘If medication played a role in Mr. Roberts’ death it was because of improper use, not anything that was attributed to anything Dr. Snellgrove did,’ he said.
On August 18, just two days before Roberts was found dead, he went to Snellgrove’s clinic in Spanish Fort and received two prescriptions, including a 30-day supply of fentanyl patches and a 30-day supply of Norco pills, according to court documents.
He went to a nearby clinic and was only able to get the Norco pills prescription filled because the clinic was out of fentanyl patches at 50mcg strength, documents state.
Roberts asked if the clinic had the 75mcg strength in stock and then called Snellgrove to ask him to write a prescription for the higher strength, the affidavit states.
Roberts was a founding member of the Mississippi-based rock band 3 Doors Down but quit in 2012 citing health reasons. He is credited with co-writing the band’s hit ‘Kryptonite’
After a pharmacist was wary of giving him the the higher strength prescription, she lied and said they were out of stock before Roberts drove to a second clinic and got the prescription filled for the patches at the higher strength, documents show.
Roberts lived in Spanish Fort, Alabama, near Mobile, at the time of his death. A grand jury in Mobile returned the indictment.
Roberts’ father, Darrell Roberts Sr., told a Drug Enforcement Administration agent that Snellgrove was a ‘celebrity junkie’ who his son called ‘Snelly,’ according to Burt.
The two were ‘tight’ and Matt Roberts sometimes had after-hours appointments with Snellgrove, whom he had seen as a patient since at least 2004, the statement said.
Roberts was found dead in the hall outside his hotel room while visiting Wisconsin for a charity performance on August 20.
Roberts was wearing a fentanyl patch, like one prescribed by Snellgrove, two days earlier, the statement said, and he also had pills matching ones the doctor prescribed.
A preliminary toxicology report revealed the presence of opiates, oxycodone, THC, and benzodiazepines in Robert’s system, according to court documents.
Agents seized records from Snellgrove’s two offices on the Alabama coast in September, Burt’s statement said.
Snellgrove’s Spanish Fort clinic pictured above. Snellgrove, who practices internal medicine, remains in private practice but is not prescribing controlled substances, his attorney said
Burt wrote there was evidence that Snellgrove illegally prescribed drugs including methadone and fentanyl to Roberts six times dating to 2011.
The fentanyl and a narcotic pain medication, Norco, wrongly prescribed by Snellgrove were contributing factors in the musician’s death, Burt’s statement said.
Fentanyl also was blamed in the death of rock musician Prince earlier this year.
The doctor had also prescribed painkillers including fentanyl, methadone, lorazepam and hydrocodone to different individuals on five different occasions knowing they would go to Roberts, according to the federal complaint.
Snellgrove, who practices internal medicine, remains in private practice but is not prescribing controlled substances, his attorney said.
‘Dr. Snellgrove is a well-respected physician with an impeccable reputation,’ said Knizley.
‘This case centers around one patient. Dr. Snellgrove treated Mr. Roberts ethically and professionally.’
Court documents describe Roberts as having fought substance abuse problems and struggling with a prescription pill addition for several years.
He attended a rehabilitation program in Arizona to get off prescription medication but later relapsed, according to court documents.
He was a founding member of the Mississippi-based rock band 3 Doors Down but quit in 2012 citing health reasons.
He is credited with co-writing the band’s hit ‘Kryptonite.’