While officials await the results of toxicology tests, the investigation into Whitney Houston’s death at age 48 on Saturday has shifted to the role prescription medications may have played in her demise.
According to the Los Angeles Times, police are focusing on the bottle of prescription drugs found in the late singer’s hotel room and figuring out who prescribed the medications to her. Investigators expect to start issuing subpoenas this week to various Los Angeles doctors and the pharmacies where Houston got the drugs.
On Monday, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office attempted to downplay speculation that an overdose of prescription medication was the main factor in Houston’s death, saying “not many prescription bottles” were found in her Beverly Hilton hotel room on Saturday. He added that the amount of medications did not seem unusually large and was less than what is usually present in deaths attributed to overdoses.
The source who spoke to the Times said it was standard practice to look into whether the drugs were dispensed properly and if there is any evidence that she was receiving too many prescriptions. Houston will be laid to rest in her native Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday at an invitation-only private funeral at her childhood house of worship, the New Baptist Church.
The paper spoke to defense attorney Ellyn Garofalo, who won acquittal for a physician charged with over-prescribing drugs to Anna Nicole Smith. She said investigators were probably looking to compare the amounts of prescription medications gathered from Houston’s room with the amounts of medication that were dispensed, as well as determining which pharmacies dispensed the drugs and which doctor or doctors prescribed them. A potential red flag would be if a single doctor prescribed a very large amount of medication.
As of now, there are no plans to launch a criminal investigation. The results of the toxicology test could help determine what, if any, other avenues of investigation will be taken.
Tune in as we celebrate the life of an icon with “Whitney Houston: In Her Own Words” tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on MTV.