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Former Kenton Coroner Suetholz Indicted on Federal Drug Charge

This story has been updated with a statement from Suetholz's family and friends, which can be seen below.

Former Kenton County Coroner Dr. David Suetholz was indicted on a federal charge of illegally distributing controlled substances such as oxycodone and OxyContin.

The federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Kentucky returned the indictment on Thursday.

Suetholz is directed to appear in court on October 27.

According to court documents, Suetholz, 73, of Ludlow, is accused of unlawfully distributing opioids to three patients on ten separate occasions between September 2018 and February 2020.

If convicted, Suetholz faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Suetholz, a physician, was first appointed coroner in 1991 and served in that elected position until retiring June 30 of this year. Then-Deputy Coroner Amber Constantino replaced him the role as county coroner.

This case against Suetholz was investigated by the DEA’s Detroit Field Division, Cincinnati District Office Diversion Group, the FBI’s Louisville Field Office, HHS-OIG’s Louisville Field Office, and the Kentucky MFCU.

Trial Attorneys Chris Jason and Dermot Lynch and Assistant Chief Kilby Macfadden of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

Federal investigators asked that individuals who believe that they may be a victim in this case should visit the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness website for more information.

STATEMENT FROM SUETHOLZ FAMILY AND FRIENDS

A statement on behalf of the Suetholz family and friends was submitted on Friday afternoon by DBL Law attorney William Brammel:

Yesterday, federal prosecutors wrongfully secured an indictment against Dr. David W.  Suetholz, a man who has dedicated his life to the well-being of his community, patients, family,  and friends. Dr. Suetholz has served Northern Kentucky as a family physician for over 45 years  and as the Kenton County Coroner for 30 years.  

The combination of being both a family physician and the Kenton County Coroner provide Dr.  Suetholz with a gruesome, first-hand perspective of the opioid and addiction crisis plaguing our  community. A decade ago he wrote both the Kentucky Medical Association and the Kentucky  Board of Medical Licensure to alert them to the tsunami of opioid addiction. He decided to  combat the “opioid epidemic” long before the phrase gained national attention.  

Dr. Suetholz has spent the last 20+ years treating patients with addiction including overseeing a  pilot treatment program for those incarcerated in jail. The cruel irony is that the federal  government is accusing him of contributing to the opioid epidemic – the very crisis he has  dedicated the latter part of his life combatting.  

In the eight weeks since this nightmare began, it is clear that the government sees only  numbers and headlines and not the people, patients or lives saved by our friend, father, and  husband. Though this ordeal may cost him his life’s work, Dr. Suetholz continues to worry  about his patients but trusts the Court system and is confident he will be vindicated.

-Staff report

Photo: Dr. David Suetholz (via Facebook)