CA Doctor Charged with Murder in Prescription Pill Abuse Case
Last month, a NY doctor was arrested for overprescribing prescription pills, according to this article in the Huffington Post, and I believe I saw another doctor on the New York TV news this week arrested for the same thing.
But now an arrest has hit home on the West coast, and thus the Malibu Beach Recovery Center community and all others concerned with this horrendous epidemic. Today, Dr. Lisa Tseng, a Rowland Heights doctor that the DEA had been investigating for years, was charged with the murder of three men who died of overdoses.
One of the three was Joey Rovero, the son of April Rovero, who started the National Coalition Against Prescription Pill Drug Abuse, a non-profit, to increase awareness of prescription pill abuse after her son Joey, a patient of Dr. Tseng, died of an overdose. MBRC posted about the organization in December 2010. Here’s April Rovero’s statement at a California state senate press conference, attended by Joan and Malibu Beach Recovery Center alumni Krissie Bergo and Laurie Kelsoe.
Just a few weeks ago Joan received an email from another mother who had just learned that her son got pills from Dr. Tseng. (He, too, died of an overdose.) Two state medical examiners told the woman that her son had several drugs in his system, and that he was a patient of Dr. Tseng. “I hope that they find them all,” she said, referring to doctors like Tseng.
Joan knows firsthand about the death of Austin Klimusko, a former MBRC patient who got pills from one of these notorious doctors, and ended up dying from an overdose of heroin which she describes as “cheap oxycodone.” Like Joey Rovero’s mother, Susan Klimusko has become an activist, too, and started an organization called “Heroin Sucks, Not One More..
“Like many of our young clients, Austin was from Simi Valley, a Los Angeles bedroom community plagued by drug addiction.” said Joan. “Too many young people from Simi Valley have already died.”
Today’s arrest is a milestone in the war on drugs. The doctor was charged for prescribing pills to people who “had no legitimate need,” but to be charged with murder sends the strongest message possible to other doctors. As Los Angeles County District Attorney. Steve Cooley said in the L.A. Times article, “Dr. Feelgoods who knowingly overprescribe drugs for no medical reason other than someone asks for the drugs and pays the doctor a staggering amount of money will be dealt with severely.”
How wonderful that these mothers are getting justice. As Joan said, “Good work on the part of the state of California and the L.A. Times reporters.”
Joan Borsten contributed to this story.