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8.30.2010

doctor investigated in patient overdose deaths

In Rowland Heights, California, a physician is suspected of illegally dealing prescription pain medications and other powerful narcotics to addicts. Last week, federal and state officials raided the office of Dr. Lisa Tseng, who says she believes she did nothing wrong: Doctor whose office was searched by federal agents defends her procedures for prescribing drugs.
In a federal search warrant affidavit, investigators said they suspected Tseng of routinely prescribing oxycodone, a powerful narcotic pain reliever similar to heroin, and other highly abused medications to drug-seekers without properly assessing their medical need or their apparent addictions.

In one of three deaths cited in the affidavit, a young man overdosed after Tseng prescribed him drugs; in another, a 20-year-old overdosed after taking drugs given to him by a suspected dealer who allegedly got them from Tseng, according to the affidavit sworn by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Robert J. Harkins and filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Autopsy reports reviewed by The Times and interviews with family members indicate Tseng was a prescribing physician in five other cases in which her patients died of overdoses. In a sixth case, family members blame Tseng for prescribing drugs to a young addict who shot himself to death. There were no drugs prescribed by Tseng in his system at the time of his suicide, records show.
The investigation is still ongoing. Dr. Tseng hasn't been charged with a crime, and still retains her license to practice medicine. But DEA officials have suspended her license to prescribe controlled substances. More here: Doctor punished after Laguna man's death.