LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Corey Haim bought more than 550 doses of prescription drugs including Valium and Vicodin in the weeks before his March 10 death, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said on Tuesday.
Haim, a Canadian-born teenage film star of the 1980s whose life spiraled downward due to drug and alcohol abuse, died at age 38. At the time, Los Angeles coroners said his death was due to an apparent drug overdose.
Authorities have not announced an official cause of death pending the results of toxicology tests.
California officials already had been conducting an investigation into illegal prescription writing as part of a broad drug probe. They have linked Haim to this drug ring.
Brown said a report from the state’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement found that Haim bought 195 doses of the anti-anxiety drug Valium, 194 doses of the muscle relaxant Soma, 149 doses of the powerful painkiller Vicodin and 15 Xanax anti-anxiety pills from February 2 to March 5.
“In a period of 32 days, Corey Haim obtained at least 553 doses of potentially dangerous prescription drugs,” Brown, who is running for California governor, said at a news conference.
“It’s important for people to understand that legal, prescribed drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs, and doctor-shopping can deadly,” Brown said.
Following Haim’s death, Brown’s office said an investigation in the San Diego area turned up a ring of people offering illegal prescriptions. A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said an arrest had been made in connection with this alleged drug ring.
Brown said members of the ring operated by ordering prescription pads from authorized pharmacies using stolen doctor identities. The pads were then either sold to addicts or others who wrote prescriptions, and the doctors were usually unaware their identity had been used, Brown added.
Brown has ordered investigations into drug-related deaths of more than 200 people across the state as he seeks to control prescription drug abuse. Along with Haim, he has looked into the deaths of model Anna Nicole Smith and singer Michael Jackson.
Haim was known for his work in movies such as “Lucas” and “The Lost Boys.” But he became perhaps as famous for his drug problems as for his acting career, and in the past had openly talked about struggling with addiction.
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Will Dunham