Dr. Dzung Ahn Pham Charged in Opioid Deaths and Linked to Mass Shooter

The bad doctor is “in.” (Matt Coker illustration)

If the federal charges against Dr. Dzung Ahn Pham are true, the owner of Irvine Village Urgent Care may be the baddest doctor to appear under my Bad Doctor illustration.

The 57-year-old Tustin man has been charged in at least five overdose deaths and tied to the accused killer of a Costa Mesa fire captain and the presumed Thousand Oaks mass shooter.

Specifically, Pham is alleged to have illegally prescribed powerful narcotics, resulting in multiple deaths across Southern California and millions of dollars for his and his wife’s personal bank accounts, the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration announced Tuesday.

Pham could be sent to federal prison for 40 years based on a conviction on the charges lodged against him.

Click here to read the complaint filed with the federal courthouse in downtown Santa Ana.

Dr. Dzung Ahn Pham (Yelp)

Pham wrote prescriptions to people he did not examine, and he sold opioids to drug addicts and dealers who in turn sold them on the black market, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, where at least one prosecutor referred to the defendant as a drug dealer armed with a prescription pad.

The U.S. Attorney says that Pham prescribed opioids to Mission Viejo 25-year-old Stephen Taylor Scarpa, who authorities say was under the influence of a controlled substance on Nov. 3, when the van he was driving crashed into the bicycle of Mike Kreza, the fire captain who died from his injuries. Sheriff’s deputies say they found multiple prescription medications inside the van that was driven by Scarpa, who the Orange County District Attorney’s office went on to charge with second-degree murder.

The feds say they Pham sent a text message indicating drugs he prescribed to someone else were in the possession of Ian David Long, the alleged gunman in the Nov. 7 massacre at the Borderline Bar and Grill nightclub in Thousand Oaks, where 12 people were slain before Orange-born Long turned his gun on himself.

Pham wrote so many prescriptions that a CVS pharmacy in Irvine stopped filling them from him five years ago because the doctor could not justify the number of opioid pills he wrote scripts for, according to prosecutors, who add that among the narcotics undercover DEA agents easily obtained through Pham’s prescriptions were the powerful “holy trinity” (opioids like hydrocodone, a benzodiazepine such as Valium and a muscle relaxer like Soma.

Other drugs Pham routinely prescribed included Adderall, oxycodone, Tramadol, Suboxone, Norco, alprazolam, and hydrocodone bitartrate-acetaminophen, according to the feds, who pin five overdose deaths from 2014 through 2017 on the doctor along with sixth from a fatal side effect.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

9 Replies to “Dr. Dzung Ahn Pham Charged in Opioid Deaths and Linked to Mass Shooter”

  1. The Irvine Costco Pharmacy dispensed prescriptions written by Dr. Pham for many years. That pharmacy is still on probation for doing so. The probationary period ends 9/22/2019.

  2. it was only a matter of time.

    I used to be addicted to prescription pills and I used to get them from Dr. Pham. Along with ten other of my friends. I would just walk in, no examination, a get 120 norcos , 120 xanax.. no questions asked. I started going to pham in 2003. Sometimes I would go once a week, pay, and he would write it right there. And he had go to Pharmacys as well that everyone knew about . Dont get me wrong, I seeked the drugs, and I am responsible for my own addiction. Just letting you know how it really was.

    Then i could just send him a text and he would fill it. HE IS THE BIGGEST DRUG DEALER IN SOUTH OC. This has been going on for at least 20 years.

      1. So should the men who are in jail, but not surprisingly they are guilty while under the influence of drugs that Pham prescribed.

    1. What lie did you tell to get him to prescribe them? Huh? Did you say “hey Dr Pham, I’m a drug addict and I just want some pills”? I’m guessing that’s not how you got them.

  3. This is absolutely the biggest bullshit cop out I’ve ever heard of , how is doc Pham being held responsible for what these other idiots do ? Question how the fuck is Pham being blamed for a grown adult breaking the law and driving under the influence? And if it wasn’t a BELOVED fireman would this even be a issue ? This has ruined his name and buisness and possibly his life where is the accountability from the pharmaceutical sales devils who pushed this shit in everyone’s mouth for not so much as a root canal for YEARS and doctor Pham is to blame where’s the accountability of the pharmacy’s? How do we know the alleged shooter didn’t steal those pills how do we know if the KID who killed the fire hero didn’t really have a medical condition and did not use good judgment whilst takeing over the recommended amount THAT IS CLEARLY ON THE BOTTLE ! What’s wrong with you people you wanna blame someone blame the legislators who got rich allowing BIG PHARMA to be the biggest LEAGLE DRUG DEALERS IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY! I’ve sat and watched this happen in 3 different STATES 2 of which Dr Pham did not operate In for YEARS !!! I know opioid addiction personally and it steals your soul and life no one wants to be addicted to it it derailed my life more than I ever thought it could it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do to get off it but I made it and guess who coached and guided me through it

    DR DZUNG PHAM that’s who , seems to me someone wanted NEEDED a scapegoat
    Love you dr Pham your gonna beat this bullshit

    1. Totally agree, I was tapering off of them too, Dr Dzung Pham cannot be blamed! When I went there the first time, he pulled me up on the DEA website! That’s were any Doctor or Pharmacist can see what doctor and what pills you are getting! So don’t blame him! Total scapegoat! Read the fricking pill bottles, do not drive, do not drink, etc, etc… I will witness to the fact he did his job right! Just call me, he has my number!

    2. How the hell he makes so much money total 6.7 million in those years? oh man, this man is asking for trouble. So dame easy money so he wouldn’t stop. Put him in jail, then deport him back to his country after his jail term.

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