Doctor Indicted for 3 Doors Down Co-Founder Matthew Roberts' Fatal Overdose

By Britni de la Cretaz 11/29/16

An Alabama doctor has been accused of unlawfully providing Roberts with methadone, fentanyl, and lorazepam prescriptions.

Doctor Indicted for 3 Doors Down Co-Founder Matthew Roberts' Fatal Overdose
Photo via YouTube

Former 3 Doors Down guitarist Matthew Roberts died of a drug overdose on Aug. 20, and now his doctor, Dr. Richard Snellgrove, has been indicted for unlawfully prescribing medication.

Roberts was found dead in his hotel room in West Bend, Wisconsin, at the age of 38. At the time, his father suspected a drug overdose, telling reporters that his son had a prescription drug addiction and struggled with anxiety. But Darrell Roberts said, “I thought he had beaten it all.”

The official cause of death was listed as "multiple medication intoxication (fentanyl, hydrocodone and Alprazolam)."

According to Alabama news station WKRG, a federal complaint was filed, stating that "Dr. Snellgrove prescribed Controlled Substances to Matthew Roberts for no legitimate medical purposes and outside the usual course of professional practice" from October 2010 through Aug. 18, 2016, though Roberts had been a patient of Snellgrove’s since at least 2004.

The doctor is also accused of prescribing medication to other people, knowing that they were intended for Roberts. It also said that Snellgrove wrote two prescriptions just two days before Roberts’ death that contributed to it, including a prescription for a stronger dose of fentanyl patches than Roberts was usually prescribed because the pharmacy was out of the lower dose.

A source said that Snellgrove and Roberts had a "tight" relationship and indicated that they had after-hours appointments, which was evident from text messages exchanged between the two included in the federal complaint.

Snellgrove was also described as a “celebrity junkie.” He has been indicted for "knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully distribut[ing] and dispens[ing]" lorazepam, hydrocodone, methadone and fentanyl to Roberts. 

The indictment indicates that Snellgrove wrote a prescription for methadone to Roberts’ brother that was intended for Roberts, even though he wasn’t present. Snellgrove is also charged with writing a prescription for Norco tablets (acetaminophen and hydrocodone) and Ativan for Roberts’ father even though he knew they were intended for Roberts, as well as writing prescriptions for fentanyl for Roberts’ cousin to give to Roberts because his insurance wouldn’t cover the medication.

In 2012, the guitarist took a hiatus from the band he co-founded in the mid-1990s in order to focus on his health, citing “circulation problems.” At the time, he said, “It saddens me to take this time off … But my health has to be my first priority.” 

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.

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