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20 doctors subpoenaed in Haim death

March 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Twenty local doctors have been issued subpoenas as the L.A. County Coroner's Office investigates what led up to the death of actor Corey Haim.Corey Haim battled addiction for many years. Now the coroner is trying to find out whether doctors enabled his death. Eyewitness News has learned that nearly two dozen physicians are under investigation.

"They are linked through a database program that shows when Corey's name was run," said Assistant Chief Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner. "It shows that they had prescribed different medications."

Investigators found Haim's name on multiple prescription meds including: Vicodin and Valium. Fraudulent drug-prescription pads are also linked to the actor's death. To a drug thief these are like blank checks.

"This is a huge problem," said addiction specialist Dr. Jayson Hymes.

Dr. Hymes says syndicates are finding clever ways to turn these into money.

"It may be real, it may be counterfeited," said Dr. Hymes. "It was stolen by someone from a doctor's office."

Haim is just the latest in a series of high profile celebrities who were able persuade doctors to sign off on excessive amounts of drugs.

Anna Nicole Smith obtained painkillers using several aliases. Michael Jackson went doctor shopping. He sought physicians who would give him the drugs he wanted. Haim is suspected of similar behavior, according to Department of Justice investigators.

"He lots of doctors. He had well over a dozen doctors," said California Attorney General Jerry Brown. "He went to well over a dozen pharmacies. People were prescribing dangerous drugs, more than one doctor on the same day."

There are many questions for the coroner. Did the doctors examine Haim? Did they dig for clues that he was tapping other physicians for drugs? Or did drug dealers simply counterfeit the doctor's name?

The coroner's report showed that Haim had an enlarged heart and water in his lungs at the time of his death.

Haim had been living with his mother in an apartment in Universal City. He died at 2:15 a.m. at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank on March 10. The actor was 38 years old.

The actor broke into the film industry in 1984 as a child actor. He starred in movies such as "Lucas" with Charlie Sheen, but his breakthrough role came with his 1987 film "Lost Boys."