An indictment was recently filed against Dr. Phil Astin III, previously a personal physician to a number of professional wrestlers in the Atlanta area including most notably, Chris Benoit. Astin faces 175 federal counts of illegal prescription abuse to 17 different patients. At least six of these patients are believed to be professional wrestlers.
Perhaps the most notable thing is that even though the government claimed Astin had prescribed ten months worth of steroids to Chris Benoit every three to four weeks for one year between May 2006 and May 2007 (and somehow, someway never failing a WWE drug test along the way), none of the counts regard anabolic steroid usage. Astin was largely known in the Atlanta sports community for prescribing anabolic steroids to athletes, and not exclusively to ones in the area.
The government is going after Astin for prescribing drugs without often examining patients thoroughly. The indictment said that in one instance, drugs prescribed by Astin resulted in the death of a patient, believed to be former professional wrestler Mike “Johnny Grunge” Durham. Although, none of the counts in the indictment were related to Durham even though he was prescribed heavy doses of somas in the days before his untimely death in February 2006 at the age of 39.
The 17 patients are referred to by their initials in the indictment. Two of the patients are Oscar Gutierrez, better known as Rey Mysterio, as well as former WWE wrestler Mark Jindrak, as the indictment includes previous charges related to distributing painkillers and other drugs to them last July. When questioned about his involvement with Astin during an appearance on Fox News’ Red Eye program last August promoting his wrestling return at SummerSlam a few days later, Mysterio said he was prescribed pain medication from Astin due to six knee operations. He also denied ever using steroids. Jindrak is currently living in Mexico City, Mexico, competing for the CMLL promotion under the name Marco Corleone.
Also listed in the indictment are the initials CMB and NEB, likely referring to Christopher Michael Benoit and Nancy Elizabeth Benoit. The initials MAB and RWH are also listed and believed to be well known pro wrestlers. MAB appears to be Buff Bagwell, who’s real name is Marcus Alexander Bagwell. RWH is believed to be one-half of the current WWE World Tag Team Champions, Hardcore Holly, who’s real name is Robert William Howard. Last July, ABCNews.com reported that along with Benoit, Jindrak, and Gutierrez, Bagwell and Holly had their medical records seized by federal agents from Dr. Phil Astin’s office. Lex Luger was also named in ABC’s report, but no charges regarding him were filed in the indictment.
The indictment lists Astin as prescribing drugs illegally to Chris Benoit from December 13, 2004 to June 22, 2007, the day Benoit killed his wife. Astin prescribed him 600 Lorcets and 600 Somas on December 13, 2004, which lasted approximately 19 weeks, before Astin gave him a refill on those same prescriptions, which lasted about four months. That was the regular pattern of dosages prescribed to Benoit every few months until his death.
The indictment notes that Nancy Benoit regularly received prescriptions for Lorcet, Xanax and Somas — mainly Lorcet — from June 6, 2005 to May 30, 2007. According to the indictment, Nancy usually got 75 tablets of Lorcet every 11 days to nine weeks, although on August 11, 2006, she got an undated prescription allowing her to get 600 tablets of Lorcet and 600 of Xanax, which lasted eight weeks. From then on out she was getting 150 Lorcet tablets per visit, but on March 12, 2007 and May 30, 2007, she was given 120 tablets at first with the ability for 240 additional tablets with refills.
According to the indictment, Jindrak regularly received huge quantities of undated prescriptions during his time in World Wrestling Entertainment, which lasted through July 2005. He was still being prescribed drugs well into his departure from the company. From April 29, 2004 to April 16, 2007, Jindrak received Percosets, Vicoprfen, Xanax, Lorcet, Soma and Adderall. After moving to Mexico City full-time in 2006, he would return to Atlanta every three months or so to visit Astin. On September 8, 2006, Astin prescribed Jindrak a total of 1,740 pills (120 Percosets, 90 Adderall, 600 Lorcets, 480 Xanax and 480 Soma), which lasted for three months. That was the usual pattern with his visits, every three months with the same number of pills. Although, Jindrak went through one batch in six weeks in December 2006-January 2007. On December 8, 2006, Jindrak received prescriptions for 1,770 pills and came back just six weeks later on January 19, 2007. That batch lasted for about three months before his next visit to Astin on April 16, 2007 in which he was prescribed 1,740 pills.
Regarding RHW, who is believed to be current WWE star Hardcore Holly, he was prescribed Percoset, Lorcet and Soma every few months, and was given undated prescriptions for almost everything else needed. On September 19, 2006, Astin prescribed him total of 2,550 pills.
MAB, believed to be Marcus Alexander Bagwell, was regularly prescribed pain killers from Astin. On December 7, 2006, Bagwell received prescriptions for Percoset, Lorcet, Xanax and Soma totaling 1,680 pills and came back for a similar refill ten weeks later. Bagwell regularly visited Astin every eight to nine weeks up until his arrest shortly after Benoit killed his wife and son. Bagwell’s last visit took place on June 14, 2007 and he was prescribed the same four sets of pills, as well as 60 40 mg. tablets of Oxycontin on the side.
And last but not least we come to Oscar Gutierrez, otherwise known as Rey Mysterio. Gutierrez also received undated prescriptions and post-dated prescriptions for either Percoset or Lorcet, although the dosages weren’t as high as the other pro wrestlers. Since he lives in Chula Vista, California, he saw Astin less frequently than the other other wrestlers in question who all lived in the Atlanta area except for one. Since WWE’s introduction of the Wellness policy in November 2005, he was only listed as having made two visits to Astin, which took place during the summer of 2006. WWE wrestlers are only supposed to use primary care physicians for prescriptions, so it seems a little strange that Gutierrez’s primary doctor is in an Atlanta suburb when he lives in Southern California. On June 28, 2006, Gutierrez was prescribed 120 Percosets, 150 Lorcets and refills allowed for 450 more Lorcets. He received a similar level of medication a few weeks later on July 20, 2006 — three days before losing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to Booker T at the Great American Bash.
At the time, Gutierrez was suffering from a major knee injury and had been putting off some much needed surgery for several months. Of course, Gutierrez was receiving the biggest push of his life in the wake of the death of close friend Eddie Guerrero, which is why he kept working through the injury. After losing the title, he kept going in order to work a three-month-long program with Chavo & Vickie Guerrero. He finally underwent knee surgery in October 2006 after his feud with the two came to a close, which put him out of the ring for about ten months. There were no records in the indictment of him dealing with Astin during his surgery recuperation.
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