The recent arrest of Anna Nicole Smith’s doctor, psychiatrist and attorney has put the spotlight on the role the professional community can play in keeping an addict addicted. Smith died Feb. 8, 2007 in a Hollywood, Fl. hotel room after suffering an accidental overdose from a cocktail of prescription drugs, including highly-addictive opiates. She was 39 at the time of her death which came shortly after she gave birth to a daughter and lost her son to a drug overdose.
Arrested in connection with the case were Howard K. Stern, Smith’s boyfriend and attorney; Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, one of Smith’s doctors; and Khristine Eroshevich, Smith’s psychiatrist. Eroshevich faces charges that she repeatedly supplied Smith, a known addict, with addictive prescription drugs. Stern and Kapoor have been charged with unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance and conspiring to prescribe, administer and dispense a controlled substance to an addict.
Kapoor and Eroshevich were also charged with one count each of obtaining a prescription for opiates by using a fake name or address, and one count each of obtaining a prescription for opiates by “fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” All three turned themselves in recently and are scheduled to be arraigned May 13 in the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. They each face a maximum of five years and eight months in a state prison if convicted, according to the district attorney’s office.
Dangerous Mix of Opiates and Benzodiazepines Prescribed “Excessively” for Smith
Los Angeles County Superior Court documents show a dangerous mix of opiates, benzodiazepines and other drugs that had been prescribed to Smith over a three-year period. These include: methadone, a synthetic opioid used to treat addiction; Dilaudid, the brand name for hydromorphone, an opioid analgesic; Xanax, used to treat anxiety and panic disorders; Valium, used to treat anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal and addiction; Vicodin, a narcotic pain reliever and cough suppressant; Ambien, a short-term sleeping aid; promethazine with codeine, an antihistamine and sedative; clonazepam, a muscle relaxant; chloral hydrate, a hypnotic sedative; and carisoprodol, a muscle relaxant.
California’s Attorney General has called Stern Smith’s “principal enabler” and said the doctors prescribed the drugs “excessively to a known addict.” All three have denied they did anything wrong and an attorney for Eroshevich has said the doctor needed to use a fictitious name on prescriptions to protect Smith’s privacy.
Alleged Abuse of Power Kept Smith Sedated and Incoherent
The case calls attention to the alleged abuse of power by the very people who were charged with taking care of Smith. If they are found guilty of the charges, it will show that all three flagrantly violated their ethical obligations to the star who often seemed unable to care for herself.
Smith, who was a Playboy pin-up and Guess Jeans model, became a kind of caricature of herself in the years leading up to her death. She wed billionaire oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II when she was 26 and he was in his late 80s. After his death in 1995, she battled his family for control of his estate. She also starred in a reality TV show which often portrayed her as unstable and incoherent. Smith even made embarrassing TV appearances where she slurred her words and seemed heavily sedated and impaired.