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Pseudonyms in Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith cases pose challenge for authorities

Before her death in 2007, model Anna Nicole Smith is believed to have used at least half a dozen different names to obtain powerful prescription medications.

In the case of Michael Jackson, who died June 25 after being administered a powerful sedative and other drugs, the pop star obtained prescriptions by what authorities believe was the use of at least 19 pseudonyms, including "Omar Arnold," " Jack London" and "Josephine Baker."

Trying to decode these fake names has proven a challenge for law enforcement -- even when they are investigating the death of a celebrity, as in the cases of Jackson and Smith.

But officials said they are trying new ways to identify prescription drug buyers who use pseudonyms before its too late.

The California attorney general's office this week touted improvements to the state's prescription medication tracking system will help authorities more easily identify those who use pseudonyms and aliases to illegally obtain controlled drugs as well as the doctors who enable them.

While the issue has been in the news because of the Jackson death investigation, officials said improper use of prescription drugs is a major problem that costs healthcare providers.

"We have so much [drug traffic] moving on the streets and we have so much moving in doctors' suites, and we have to attack both," Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown said.

It is illegal to prescribe drugs in the name of anyone but the intended user, and physicians found using pseudonyms have lost their medical licenses and faced criminal charges. But doctors and investigators were previously unable to track or cross reference pseudonyms or aliases used to obtain controlled medications.

Upgrades to the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, known as CURES, allow healthcare professionals and law enforcement officials to make instant checks through an Internet-based system of more than 100 million entries for controlled substances -- including anti-anxiety medications, painkillers and sedatives -- prescribed in California.

Sara Simpson, special agent in charge with the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, said at a news conference that the system will be a powerful investigative tool, quickly allowing investigators to connect the dots between doctors, drugs and patients in cases that involve abuse of powerful prescriptions.

Clues to abuses can be checked not only through names on prescriptions but through doctors, she said.

"These patient profiles can be run by the doctor's name," Simpson said. "So If we know a specific doctor is overprescribing or prescribing without pathology, then we can look at his patient record and see if those names actually are true and correct names or are they actually false people."

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating several doctors who treated Jackson before his death. Last month, the LAPD requested Brown's office to join the review, which includes assistance researching the CURES databases.

In announcing his agency's involvement, Brown told The Times it was too soon to say whether the doctors would face criminal charges or lesser administrative fines or penalties.

-- Andrew Blankstein

 
Comments () | Archives (8)

And to think we're against legalizing marijuana whose most dangerous side effect is too many Oreo cookies. -AB

I GUESS ITS COOL BUD I DIS AGREE ON DS INFORMATION

These people go to prestigious schools, spend 8 to 12 years gaining knowledge, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure a license, they are so well educated that they go into the education system with the salutation of Mr. Mrs or Miss and come out with the title of Dr., and for that we have high regards for them, when we fall ill they are the first ones we think of, we believe and trust that their judgment is far superior than ours, they will make us well no matter what our illnesses are and last but not least we believe with all our hearts they value life and have HIGH ETHIC STANDARDS.

No, these NO GOOD, UNETHICAL, GREEDY BASTARDS interest is to pump patients with pills until they fall over dead. They have no interest in the sanctity of life and they have no problem with assisting their patients in ruining their own lives.

EVERY DOCTOR INVOLVED WITH GIVING MICHAEL JACKSON ABUNDANCE OF DRUGS NEED TO HAVE THEIR LICENSE REVOKED AND THEY NEED TO BE JAILED. NOT FINED, BUT JAILED FOR A LONG TIME ALLOWING THEM TO THINK ABOUT THEIR UNETHICAL PRACTICES.

Michael Jackson paid the ultimate price for his decision, it's time for those who assisted him to pay.

Nothing will ever change in Hollywood when it comes to these doctors feelgoods!
They did not learn when Elvis died,nor Anna , Heath, And other celebrities out there! So why would they learn now and see the errors of their ways.
It's a dog eat dog, money hungry, fantasy world in that crazy Holly-weird!

I guess "investigating the data base" is probably a common answer.
I also guess that it would be a bigger mountain to climb to "investigate" some of the root causes of todays society as to why these patients will resort to such unethical and down right strange/inventive methods of relief from reality .

Sigh- when is this american obsession with the cult of celebrity going to end? How else can you explain doctors willing to risk losing their medical licenses, and potentially facing criminal charges, by prescribing prescriptions to alies- just to keep their celeb clients happy. It just doesn't make a ton of sense to me! that being said, the same phenomena can be seen in the legal world- let's take ANS for example. Lawyers have been purusing her frivolous and outlandish lawsuit against the Marshall family for a decade- despite the fact that most legal professionals assert that they have no case. In fact, they even took aspects of the case to the supreme court- yes, it's great to get decisions on interesting legal quirks, but I doubt ANS even knew how much they were spending for that goose chase.

With this appearing to be such a serious and dangerous situation developing, can we not have some sort of watchdog group that can recognize over-prescription and investigate the physician responsible? I suppose there are privacy issues at risk there, having an organization monitor the prescriptions of private citizens but something has got to give or we will not see an end to this prescription drug overdose trend. Sadly, many of the celebrity deaths seem to be the result of their enabling entourages, Howard K. Stern being the poster-boy for this sort of thing. Howard was just hanging on until Anna got that Marshall money...too bad for Howard that Anna's absurd claim has never really panned out and in reality has been without a solid legal foundation from the start (over 14 years ago). I hope the chance he took is worth his current situation of having to fight to keep himself out of prison.

It seems as if celebrities like Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson surround themselves with people who never say no. It's tragic really. And the people who enabled her deserve whatever they get.


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