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Monday, April 12, 2010

Corey Haim Doctor Shopping

Last month the child star Corey Haim died while on prescription drugs after years of battling addiction. Corey Haim was the ultimate "doctor shopper", seeing as many as seven doctors a month to keep his drug habit supplied. The California Attorney General Jerry Brown said, "Investigators found that the former child actor was supplied with prescriptions for five controlled substances by seven doctors in the last 10 weeks of his life". The coroner has yet to rule on what exactly killed Haim after he collapsed in his Mom's apartment in March, but, the toxicology lab reports for Corey should be released this month.

We do know that Corey had prescriptions for Vicodin, Valium, Soma, Oxycontin and Xanax, according to the attorney general. Those drugs are powerful by themselves; however, they are lethal when they are mixed together. Every year lives are lost when people mix opiate pain killers with benzodiazepine sedatives in order to get high - a deadly cocktail. Los Angeles County Deputy Coroner, Ed Winter, stated that Haim obtained drugs using prescriptions written/signed with the names of 20 Los Angeles doctors in the past year; Haim also had his own prescription pad that he used to write his own scripts according to Brown. Haim's primary care physician had tried to curb Corey's drug use by only writing daily prescriptions so that Corey couldn't take more than he needed. However, Corey would go to Urgent Cares all over the city to get more drugs, his primary care doctor would follow up with urgent care centers that he believed were writing prescriptions for Haim. It is clear that Haim's primary care physician actually cared about his health and was not just trying to appease a celebrity like so many doctors do.

At the end of the day, Haim was one example of doctor shopping in the United States. Patients have, in a way, found out how to control what their doctor prescribes them. Now-a-days it seems like the patient does most of the diagnosing and then tells the doctor what they need. "I have pain, give me pain medicine", "I have anxiety, give me sedatives", and so on; we tell the doctor what is wrong and they take your word for it. If patients knew what was wrong with themselves, then they would be doctors.

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