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Report Describes Over-Prescriptions : Drugs: A sheriff’s report says a Newhall physician prescribed 3,600 painkillers to a patient during a 5 1/2-month period.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Attracted by an advertised fee of $20 per office visit, a 35-year-old Agua Dulce mother of two went to Dr. Sandra Soho last September seeking treatment for headaches and back pain caused by a fall.

But instead of thoroughly examining her or ordering X-rays, the Newhall doctor merely gave the woman a prescription for 100 painkillers fortified with codeine, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigative report.

Before long, the woman became addicted to the pills and had to take them “to help her get through the day,” according to the report, which was filed in Newhall Municipal Court in connection with charges that the doctor over-prescribed potentially addictive medication.

The Agua Dulce woman said she returned repeatedly to Soho’s office for new prescriptions, the report said, and during a 5 1/2-month period was prescribed 3,600 of the painkillers.

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“I had a bad back and went there five times, and now I’ve got all kinds of crap,” said the woman in an interview, referring to her struggle with addiction.

The woman, who asked that her name not be used, told sheriff’s investigators in early April about her alleged ordeal with Soho. Soho was arrested April 17 at her Newhall office. Soho, 47, who was Dr. Stanley Soho until a 1986 sex-change operation, was charged last month with 10 felony counts of illegally furnishing restricted substances to patients who later became addicted.

Soho was to have been arraigned on the charges Thursday in Newhall Municipal Court, but the proceedings were delayed to June 6 because her attorney, Thomas F. Kascoutas, said an unspecified conflict of interest may prevent him from representing her.

Soho, who lives in Hollywood, was barred from practicing medicine from 1981 to 1984 after state medical examiners found the doctor’s conduct “grossly incompetent . . . dishonest and corrupt.” She later purchased the practice of Dr. Milos Klvana, a home birthing advocate who was sentenced in February to 53 years to life in prison on charges that he had killed eight infants and a fetus.

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Several attempts to contact Soho by telephone for comment on the allegations in the investigators’ report were unsuccessful. Her attorney also did not return calls.

Court records also show that Soho was detained twice in 1988 for displaying a firearm, but no charges were filed because of a lack of evidence.

The Agua Dulce mother told sheriff’s investigators that her belief that she was abusing the pills was taken to Soho. The doctor then allegedly told the woman not to worry and that the dependence she was experiencing was temporary. Soho then gave her a new prescription, the report said.

The report said several pharmacists called Soho and inquired about the large number of painkilling drugs she was prescribing. Soho then asked the Agua Dulce patient whether there was another name she could use to make out new prescriptions, according to the report.

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The patient said the doctor could use her maiden name, and Soho continued to write prescriptions, the report said.

Soho--who is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds--reportedly became upset when the woman said she wanted to stop seeing the doctor.

“She said, ‘You do what you’re supposed to do and you do whatever the hell I tell you,’ ” the woman said during a telephone interview. “I just didn’t like the way she came back at me when I told her I didn’t want her assistance. I was really scared.”

The woman said she reported the doctor’s practices to the Sheriff’s Department because she was scared. But the Agua Dulce woman was not the only patient who complained to sheriff’s investigators about Soho’s alleged over-prescriptions.

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Valencia resident Sharon Benik, 26, told investigators that Soho gave her prescriptions for more than 2,000 addictive painkiller tablets over five months. Benik said she went to Soho’s office in September because she was suffering from migraine headaches, but that Soho never performed a physical examination or administered tests.

Soho gave Benik, who was already taking a painkiller for the migraines, additional prescriptions for the same drug, and the patient eventually ended up “using the pills to help her cope with problems other than her migraines and was afraid she would be cut off,” the investigators’ report said.

Eventually, Benik stopped seeing Soho. “I went to her and told her I felt I was taking too much medication and would like to stop and she just flipped out,” Benik said.

Sheriff’s investigators later interviewed two other patients, one of whom said Soho gave him prescriptions for 1,650 painkillers during a 3 1/2-month period, and another who reportedly received prescriptions for 4,300 painkilling tablets in one year.

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