Corey Haim’s death linked to illegal ‘prescription-drug ring’
The death of Corey Haim has been linked to an “illegal and massive prescription-drug ring,” state Attorney General Jerry Brown announced Friday, saying an unauthorized prescription in the actor’s name was found during a probe of phony prescription pads ordered from a San Diego vendor.
“Corey Haim’s death is yet another tragedy linked to the growing problem of prescription-drug abuse,” Brown said. “This problem is increasingly linked to criminal organizations, like the illegal and massive prescription-drug ring under investigation. It’s a serious public health problem.”
Haim, 38, died Wednesday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. Authorities initially said Haim, who had repeatedly battled drug-addiction, died of an apparent overdose, but no illegal drugs were found at his residence.
An autopsy was conducted Thursday, but the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office did not immediately provide details or announce a cause of death, pending the results of toxicology tests. The actor’s mother, however, told Access Hollywood that she was informed by the coroner’s office that Haim had an enlarged heart, pulmonary congestion and water in his lungs when he collapsed and died.
Brown said his office was investigating a prescription-drug ring that operates by ordering prescription pads from authorized vendors using stolen doctor identities. The pads are then either sold on the street to addicts or to people who are paid to fill the prescription and sell the drugs. The doctor whose name is on the form is usually unaware that his or her name has been used, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The probe, being led by the San Diego Regional Pharmaceutical Narcotic Enforcement Team, has thus far uncovered more than 4,500 to 5,000 phony prescriptions.
Haim reportedly had prescriptions for Valium, Vicodin and a muscle relaxant in the Burbank apartment he shared with his mother, Judy.
Haim’s agent told the New York Daily News that his client confided he knew he had a heart condition.
“He told me he had a skip in his heart, nothing major,” Haim’s manager, Mark Heaslip, told the newspaper.
Heaslip said it’s possible the heart condition played a role in Haim’s death and expressed doubts that the actor was back in the grip of deadly addiction.
Haim had weaned himself from serious pill-popping and was working with a new addiction specialist, Heaslip told the Daily News.
No funeral plans have been announced. Haim is expected to be buried in his native Canada.