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Psychiatrists prescribed excessive amounts of drugs to Anna Nicole Smith, expert testifies

October 26, 2009 |  1:58 pm

Annanicole A psychiatrist described as a close friend and maternal figure to Anna Nicole Smith repeatedly prescribed excessive amounts of sedatives and opiates despite the model’s history of addiction, an expert testified Monday.

The expert told a judge hearing evidence against Dr. Khristine Eroshevich and two others that medical and pharmacy records indicated at least five instances in which the Encino psychiatrist overprescribed Valium, Vicodin or other drugs in the four years leading up to Smith’s death.

The treatment, Dr. Timothy Botello concluded in a report commissioned by the state’s Bureau of Narcotic  Enforcement and submitted to the judge, represented “an extreme departure” from the normal standard of care.

“She knew or should have known the patient had an addiction problem,” Botello told Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry.

The judge will determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to try Eroshevich; Smith’s internist, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor; and her boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, for illegally furnishing the onetime Playboy playmate with prescription medication. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Botello cited a period in August 2006 – six months before the model overdosed – when Eroshevich prescribed the then-pregnant Smith three very similar sedatives to be taken at overlapping times.

“With a history of substance abuse, I could not find a legitimate medical purpose for prescribing all three throughout the day,” he testified.

Eroshevich lived next-door to Smith’s home in Studio City and the two socialized and even shared holiday meals, according to the testimony of other witnesses at the hearing.

Prosecutors have tried to present evidence of a sexual relationship between the women, but the judge barred it during the preliminary hearing.

Smith had been treated at the Betty Ford Center years before her 2007 death and was hospitalized in 2006 for acute withdrawal after she attempted to go “cold turkey” off of methadone and Xanax.

Under cross-examination, Botello acknowledged that there was no indication in the medical records that other physicians, including Kapoor, told Eroshevich about Smith’s substance abuse problems.

--Harriet Ryan

Photo: Anna Nicole Smith. Credit: Los Angeles Times archives.

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