No cocaine found in Whitney Houston’s hotel room, coroner says
Ed Winter, deputy chief of the Los Angeles County coroner's office, said several bottles of pills were recovered -– but no cocaine. Winter said the amounts of cocaine and other drugs in her system will not be known for a few more weeks.
Experts have told The Times that it will probably take time for investigators to sort out Houston's medical history and prescription drug inventory.
The Los Angeles County coroner's office has said that investigators have asked "a number" of doctors to provide them with Houston's medical information.
Experts said it could be challenging to build a complete list of a subject's prescription drugs, particularly a celebrity's. Some celebrities use the names of their assistants -- or fake names -- on prescriptions, they said.
L.A. County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Opferman, who oversees a prescription drug task force but is not involved in the Houston case, said, "Celebrities often get their prescription drugs from doctors who are more than willing to give them what they want and sometimes using members of their entourage."
Authorities collected several bottles of drugs from Houston's suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. At the time of her death, officials said the amounts of drugs did not seem unusually large.
Houston, 48, was found lifeless and submerged in a bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hilton on Feb. 11 by friends and family. She had been taking part in pre-Grammy events and had planned to attend a party for her longtime mentor Clive Davis at the hotel.
In addition to the cocaine, Winter said, marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl were found in her body. Xanax is traditionally used as an anxiety treatment. Flexeril is a muscle relaxant, and Benadryl addresses allergies and can be used as a sleep aid.
The singer had a long history of drug addiction.
A couple days before she died, Houston drew the attention of reporters and security staff with her erratic behavior, dripping sweat and disheveled clothes. The singer was disruptive at that day's rehearsals for music mogul Clive Davis' annual Grammy industry party and showcase; that party at the Hilton on Saturday night was supposed to include a performance by Houston.
In a notorious 2002 interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, she acknowledged her battle with drugs.
"The biggest devil is me," Houston told Sawyer. "I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy."
-- Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Singer Whitney Houston arrives at the 2011 Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala and Salute to Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at the Beverly Hilton. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times