SACRAMENTO, CA - One by one, grieving parents tell a joint legislative committee on Business & Professions the horrible deaths their children suffered from overdosing on prescription drugs doctors gave them.
Joey Rovero of San Ramon had taken a road trip to L.A. from his Arizona college because he and his friends knew of a "pill mill" that freely gave out prescriptions for cash .... no questions asked.
He was prescribed 90 mg of Oxycodon tablets, 90 SOMA and 30 Xanyx pills. That was the first time he'd been to see that doctor," said Rovero's mother April.
Prosecutors are trying to tie Rovero's case to Dr. Lisa Tseng who has so far been charged with three counts of murder but may be involved in at least 19 deaths due to over-prescribing narcotics.
Parents accuse the California Medical Board of being too lax on doctors it's supposed to oversee.
"What has the California Medical Board done about the death of our son?" Tammy Smick, another grieving mother, wanted to know. "As far as we can tell, absolutely nothing."
The California Medical Board says it does investigate. The problem is someone has to file a complaint.
"Complaints regarding prescription-related offenses can be somewhat difficult for the board to obtain," testified Dr. Sharon Levine, California Medical Board President.
And due to budget cuts, an outdated database called CURES which flags doctors for too many prescriptions is down to only one person tracking the entire state. Supporters say that could be funded by adding $9 a year to a doctor's license.
"The system needs a stable source of sufficient funding," said Levine.
While showing pictures of their loved ones, families rallied outside the hearing calling for the elimination of the medical board and the creation of more effective oversight.
Said mother Susan Klimusko, "Our nation is really truly in crisis and we need to do what we need to do to change this and help our youth."