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Doctor charged in fatal overdoses due in court Friday

March 2, 2012 |  9:20 am

 A Rowland Heights doctor charged with murder in connection with three fatal overdoses is scheduled to appear in court Friday.

Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng, 42, was arrested Thursday and led handcuffed from her office in a strip mall off the 60 Freeway where authorities say patients -- many of them men in their 20s -- once came to get prescriptions for drugs as potent as heroin. She is accused of recklessly prescribing narcotic painkillers and other addictive drugs.

The charges Thursday represent a rare and bold move sure to spur debate in the medical and legal communities, and come as public health and law enforcement authorities are grappling with rising prescription drug deaths.

"Prescription drug overdose deaths have reached epidemic proportions," Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley said in a prepared statement issued shortly after Tseng's arrest. "Enough is enough. Doctors are not above the law."

Tseng declined comment Thursday as she was being arrested, but told The Times in 2010 that she had done nothing wrong. She said her patients' loved ones had confronted her about her prescribing habits.

"They call me all sorts of names -- drug doctor, drug-dealing doctor. ... I tell parents a lot of times it's their problem," she said.

Tseng is being held on $3-million bail.

The Times published articles in 2010 linking Tseng to multiple overdose deaths, including those with which she has been charged. The doctor is also charged with 20 counts of prescribing drugs to patients who had no legitimate medical need.

ALSO:

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-- Lisa Girion, Scott Glover and Hailey Branson-Potts

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