Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend Howard K. Stern and two doctors were charged Thursday with giving thousands of prescription drugs to the former Playboy Playmate in the years leading up to her fatal drug overdose in 2007.Everyone probably remembers who Anna Nicole is from the time of her headline-grabbing inheritance case after the death of her billionaire husband, J. Howard Marshall. Just in case, you can find all those gory details as well as those of her titillating modelling career on Wikipedia.
Stern and doctors Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich were each charged with three felony counts of conspiracy and several other charges of fraudulent prescriptions. Prosecutors said the doctors gave the drugs - including opiates and sedatives - to Stern, who then gave them to Smith.
The prescriptions were issued between June 2004 and January 2007, just weeks before Smith's death.
What I find interesting in this story is the question of personal responsibility. If she was an adult person, who took drugs willingly, and that caused her death, how can the boyfriend and the doctors be held responsible? I realize they're not being charged with murder or even manslaughter, but I take that to be only a technicality. The charges of fraudulent prescriptions are probably the best the government can do in a case where these people are being blamed for her death. Do you agree with that analysis?
Documents obtained by The Associated Press after Smith's death showed Eroshevich authorized all 11 prescription medications found in the model's hotel room the day she died. Most of the drugs were prescribed in the name of Stern, her lawyer-turned-companion, and none were prescribed in Smith's own name.
The quantity was staggering. More than 600 pills - including about 450 muscle relaxants - were missing from prescriptions that were no more than five weeks old. Ultimately, it was a syrup - the powerful sleeping aid chloral hydrate - blamed with tipping the balance in the toxic mix of drugs and causing her death.
It sounds to me like they were lucky to be cleared of more serious criminal charges at the time of her death. What's your opinion? Is Anna Nicole Smith an example of a person with diminished capacity? Was her tremendous pill addiction such that she was no longer fully responsible for her actions, in this case, actions which resulted in her own death? Would that cast some of the burden on those around her? I say yes.
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