Arts & Entertainment

Arrest Made in Prescription Drug Ring Linked to Corey Haim's Death

HealthMedicineCrimeCrime, Law and JusticeJerry BrownCorey Haim

LOS ANGELES -- A suspect has been arrested in the prescription drug ring linked to the death of child actor Corey Haim last week, according to State Attorney General Jerry Brown's office.

Spokeswoman Christine Gasparac confirmed the arrest but would not identify the suspect, saying the case was ongoing.

She added that investigation began well before Haim's death, and said the suspect might not directly have provided the drugs that led to Haim's death.

Last Friday, authorities said Haim had a fraudulent prescription for a powerful painkiller that was obtained through a major drug ring.

Brown announced that his office was investigating Haim's death, saying an unauthorized prescription in the actor's name was found during a probe of fraudulent drug-prescription pads ordered from a vendor in San Diego.

Brown said Haim obtained "massive amounts" of legal drugs in a "questionable manner" because so many doctors were involved.

"How many people go to 10 or 15 or 20 doctors and then run around to 10, 12 and more pharmacies to go fulfill them and sometimes two different doctors in the same day?" Brown asked.

Brown said Haim's most recent prescription was filled March 5 for Vicodin.

In the weeks before that, Haim was prescribed Vicodin, Valium and other things, according to Brown.

"If you go back to 2009, you're talking thousands of pills," Brown said. "You're talking many, many doctors. I doubt if they know about each other. You're talking about many, many pharmacies."

The drug ring uses stolen doctor identities to order prescription drug pads from authorized sellers, according to Brown. The prescriptions are then sold.

The doctors whose names are being used are usually unaware.

L.A. County Coroner's officials have recovered four prescription drug bottles from Haim's home but found no illegal drugs during his death investigation.

All four of the prescriptions were in Haim's name, but the coroner refused to identify the drugs.

L.A. County Coroner's officials say an official cause of death for Haim will not be available for another month.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter says an autopsy has been performed but toxicology tests are needed to determine the exact cause of death. It could take months to get the results of those tests, Winter said.

Corey's mother, Judy Haim, has said the coroner's office told her son died of pulmonary congestion, that he had an enlarged heart and his lungs were filled with water.

Haim had been taking over-the-counter and prescription medications to battle flu-like symptoms in the days before his death, according to police.

The Canadian-born actor had struggled with drug addiction for many years, though the actor's family said Haim had reduced his drug use to near zero.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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HealthMedicineCrimeCrime, Law and JusticeJerry BrownCorey Haim