Doctors subpoenaed in Corey Haim probe


Authorities are throwing a wide net in their investigation into where actor Corey Haim obtained an illegal order for the painkiller OxyContin.

The Los Angeles County Coroner has subpoenaed 20 doctors in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties in connection with the probe, after “The Lost Boy” star, who died March 10 at age 38, was linked to a drug ring and could have had many doctors unknowingly writing prescriptions for him.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean that every one of these doctors did something wrong,” said Dr. Jayson A. Hymes, medical director of Conservative Care Specialists Medical Group ( “It means that prescriptions or prescription bottles with their names on it ended up in possession of this guy. There’s a number of reason that this could occur. Some are sins of omission. Some are sins of comission. Some involve being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Hymes, who has been an advisor to the Medical Board of California and the California Narcotics Officers Assn., told there are two issues that could come into play in the Haim probe.

“The first is one that we’ve known about for a long time, doctor shopping,” he said. “That’s when the patient goes from one doctor to the next asking for the same medication. This is almost always instigated by the patient. It’s not like the doctor goes out and grabs people and says, “Here, take this prescription.”

The second, he added, involves criminal gangs that steal, divert or counterfeit prescriptions.

“Clearly, there is a lot of money in it,” Hymes said. “The fastest growing segment of the prescription drug market is prescription opiates.”

As in the Michael Jackson case, Hymes said, “Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the person taking the drugs. Nobody held Michael Jackson down and forced him to use drugs. Nobody held Corey Haim down and poured pills down his throat. You can’t just assume it’s somebody else’s fault. There may have been criminal gangs or individuals who aided and abetted him, but they didn’t force him into doing it.”

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told Thursday that as part of Haim’s death investigation “a number of doctors showed up as a result of an audit of the prescriptions” the actor was taking.

“We’re serving them to see if, in fact, (Haim) saw these doctors or whether this is part of a fraudulent ring based out of San Diego,” the coroner’s official explained. “The attorney general, Jerry Brown, said two weeks ago that Cory’s name was found on prescriptions as part of that fraud ring. A run of his records revealed a number of doctors, both in Orange County, L.A. County and Ventura County, with his name on the prescription.”

Winter said his office has contacted most of the doctors. “Some have advised they had never seen him,” he said. “Some had seen him and are supplying us with his past medical records.”

Winter said almost all of the doctors already have been subpoenaed but that “there are two more being served this afternoon.”

He declined to identify any of the doctors.

Winter also said the death investigation should be wrapped up in several weeks.

“The full toxicological tests are not back yet.”

About Robert W. Welkos

Executive Editor: Robert W. Welkos is an award-winning journalist who covered the entertainment industry for 15 years as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. During this span, he wrote extensively about the movie industry from turmoil in the executive suites, the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and box office hits and bombs to visits to movie sets as well as profiles of top stars and A-list directors, cutting edge features on the newest indie films and visits to famous film festivals like Sundance and Cannes. Prior to entertainment, Welkos worked as a reporter and assistant city editor in The Times’ Metro section where he undertook major investigations for the paper as well as covering breaking news and writing in-depth features. Before joining The Times, he worked for the Associated Press in Reno, Nevada, and City News Service in Los Angeles.

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  • March 25, 2010 | Permalink |

    wow, I can’t believe they subpoenaed so many doctors, this will be terrible if the doctor shopping pans out to be true

  • March 25, 2010 | Permalink |

    it’s so sad to see stars get caught up in things like this..very tragic

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