California Targets Prescription-Drug Ring Linked to Corey Haim - NBC Bay Area

California Targets Prescription-Drug Ring Linked to Corey Haim

The state's Attorney General is investigating an "illegal and massive prescription-drug ring."



    California Targets Prescription-Drug Ring Linked to Corey Haim
    Getty Images
    March 19, 2009: Actor Corey Haim arrives at the 3rd Annual Avant Garde Fashion Show in Hollywood.

    California is going after a prescription-drug ring linked to the late actor Corey Haim.

    On Friday, California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced an investigation into an "illegal and massive prescription-drug ring."

    According to Brown's office, Haim's name arose during an on-going investigation of fraudulent prescription-drug pads ordered from a vendor in San Diego.

    Brown says authorities found an unauthorized prescription for the powerful painkiller OxyContin under the actor's name.

    "The prescription was filled, but whether Corey Haim himself filled it is part of the ongoing investigation," according to a statement from the Attorney General's office.

    State agents said the doctors had no idea their information had been stolen and fake pads were being made with their names.

    "A lot of times pharmacies will call the doctors to verify,"said Javier Salaiz, Special Agent Supervisor for the Department of Justice.

    Salaiz, who is head of San Diego's state narcotics unit, also said a local printing company had been making the pads.  But it doesn't appear the owners knew they were making them for drug dealers.

    Salaiz declined to give the name of the printing company.

    Even though Brown's office claims this ring is "linked to the death of Corey Haim," the coroner's report on Haim's death has yet to be released.

    "Corey Haim's death is yet another tragedy linked to the growing problem of prescription-drug abuse," Brown said in a news release. "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, who starred in "The Lost Boys" and several other big 1980s movies before battling financial and drug problems for decades, was found dead Wednesday. The 38-year-old had flu-like symptoms in the days before his death, including a 101-degree fever. A doctor checked him Tuesday and ordered bed rest.

    According to Brown's office:

    The prescription-drug ring under investigation operates by ordering prescription-drug pads from authorized vendors using stolen doctor identities. The pads are then either sold on the street to prescription-drug addicts or to individuals who are paid to fill the prescription and then sell the drugs on the underground market. The doctor whose name is printed on the form is usually unaware that his or her identity has been stolen for this purpose.

    The investigation has uncovered more than 4,500 to 5,000 fraudulent prescriptions linked to the fraud ring in Southern California, according to a news release.