Actor Corey Haim had been working to get clean from prescription drugs in the weeks before he died, according to his agent, but his plea for help may have been no match for the dozens of prescriptions he had allegedly obtained from a cadre of doctors and illegal sources.
Autopsy results have yet to be released, but it is widely believed that Haim's death last week was caused by some kind of prescription drug cocktail.
"We know that Corey Haim used a lot of legal drugs, shopped a lot of doctors and went to a lot of pharmacies and, at least in one instance, got OxyContin from an illegal syndicate," California Attorney General Jerry Brown said.
Brown said Friday that he has linked Haim to an illegal drug ring in Southern California.
Haim's agent said his client had been working on his addiction problems with a doctor and that Haim told him two weeks before he died that he was drug-free.
But the agent also said Haim's mother told him that an addiction specialist treating her son had given him four drugs and, she believed, a reaction to the medications may have caused his death.
The prescriptions found in Haim's name in his mother's apartment contained serious drugs, Brown said. And Haim's name came up on multiple prescriptions in the state's system.
"My hunch is he was using massive amounts of these drugs," he said. "He had dozens of doctors, many, many prescriptions, using many, many pharmacies, more than a dozen."
Tiffany Shepis, a close friend of Haim's, told "Good Morning America" that she made the choice to distance herself from him and his addiction. She last saw him about eight months ago and said he looked good and had gained some weight.
"Corey only ever hurt himself," she said. "He never lied about his addiction problem."
Shepis said she never had any knowledge of Haim's involvement with the alleged prescription drug ring, but his penchant for prescriptions was no secret.
Haim, at one point, was taking as many as three dozen pills a day, getting the drugs from "regular doctors, hospitals, urgent care places," she said.
"I think it's fairly easy to get whatever you want, especially when you're an actor."
In a statement released Friday, Brown called prescription drug rings a "serious health problem" and said Haim's death was one more example of why a crackdown is needed.
The 38-year-old actor rose to stardom in the 1980s in movies such as "Lucas" and "Lost Boys."
Dr. Joshua Prager, a California pain management specialist, said he has been approached several times by celebrities looking for prescription narcotics.
"Many celebrities feel entitled," he said. "I have celebs referred to me and they tell me what I will be prescribing. In the U.S., we have an epidemic of prescription drug abuse and celebrities are a reflection of what's happening in the rest of society."
The prescription-drug ring operated by purchasing prescription-drug pads using a doctor's stolen identity and then sold them to addicts on the street or to someone who fills the prescription and sells the drugs, Brown said.
"They can go to one pharmacy after another and get tens of thousands of pills and now you're talking a multimillion-dollar scam," he said.
Brown said 4,500 to 5,000 illegal prescriptions have been uncovered so far.