LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Attorney General Jerry Brown on Friday said his office has opened an investigation into a prescription drug ring linked to the sudden death of actor Corey Haim earlier this week.
Brown, who is running for California governor, has ordered probes into the drug-related deaths of more than 200 people in the past, including celebrity Anna Nicole Smith. His officers also aided in the investigation of Michael Jackson's death.
Former teen star Haim, 38, died on Wednesday in Los Angeles of an apparent prescription drug overdose. An autopsy was performed, but an official cause of death is pending toxicology reports that could take weeks.
The Los Angeles County Coroner has said four prescription drug bottles with Haim's name on them were found in his apartment, but no illicit drugs, and there was no sign of foul play.
His mother, Judy Haim, who was with her son when he fell suddenly ill, told celebrity news show Access Hollywood that the coroner told her Haim had an enlarged heart and his lungs were filled with water, leading to pulmonary congestion.
Brown's office issued a statement Friday saying an ongoing San Diego probe into people offering illegal prescription drugs turned up an unauthorized prescription under Haim's name.
"Corey Haim's death is yet another tragedy linked to the growing problem of prescription drug abuse," Brown said in a statement.
In the case of Smith, a former Playboy model turned TV celebrity who died of an overdose in 2007 at age 37, her former boyfriend and two doctors have been charged with several crimes for providing her with prescription drugs.
Where Jackson is concerned, the pop star and "Thriller" singer died in June last year at age 50, after being given too much of a powerful anesthetic to help him sleep. His personal doctor has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
In the San Diego probe, Brown said organized crime rings order prescription drug pads from vendors using doctors' stolen identities. The pads are then sold to addicts or to people who fill the prescriptions then sell the drugs on city streets.
Canadian-born Haim had a long history of drug abuse going back to his days as an up-and-coming actor in Hollywood. He rose to fame in the 198Os in movies such as "Lucas" and "The Lost Boys," where he worked with his friend Corey Feldman.
Editing by Jill Serjeant