Marc Abrams: My Walking, Dealing Doctor

Whoever answered the phone in his office was obviously under strict orders to provide as little information as possible.  I was told that Dr. Abrams was sick and given the number of another Dr who would now be in charge of Dr Abram’s caseload.  I made an appointment.  It turned out that this Dr (who’s a great guy by the way) was actually an addictionologist.  He laughed when he looked at my chart.  It seems that out of roughly four hundred patients, only about ten did not need some form of detox. Dr. Abrams had been raided by the DEA.  Each time I would visit my new Dr, he would tell me just a little bit more of what had transpired amongst his new batch of patients.  It seems that word had spread quickly among a number of drug dealers that Dr Abrams was the man to see.  Shortly after his forced retirement, they all made appointments with the new Dr. He said some of them sent young girls in to try and get prescriptions for things like Oxcontin and Vicodin.  To his surprise, a few of them were absolutely shameless.  They made no pretense whatsoever, and from the way my Dr told the story, it was, for a man with real medical ethics and an honest desire to help addicts who he perceived to be sick rather than evil, truly insulting.   They didn’t fake a back injury or claim they’d had multiple MRI’s.  No, they just asked for large prescriptions for everything from speed to opiates to benzodiazapenes.  My new Dr. threw them out of his office.

For a while it was the kind of crazy amusing story that you tell at dinner parties (especially in Silverlake).  That all changed last July when this appeared in all the local papers, radio stations, and across the Internet:

Marc Abrams, the doctor known as the “walking man” for his shirtless walks around Silver Lake, died by drowning himself in his hot tub, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said Monday.

“He was found in the Jacuzzi with the Jacuzzi lid pulled over the Jacuzzi itself,” said Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Department of Coroner Investigations. “There was no suicide note found.”

The body was found Wednesday at his home. Abrams, 58, ran a medical practice in North Hollywood until about a year ago.

At the time of his death, Abrams was under investigation for prescribing drugs to a 25-year-old patient who died of an overdose, according to law enforcement authorities and a lawyer for the patient’s family.

On Sunday, more than 400 of the doctor’s friends and acquaintances remembered him by walking one of his favorite stretches around and along Sunset Boulevard.

Abrams’ lawyer said the manner of death was hard to believe. “I do find it strange that there would be a finding of suicide by drowning in a hot tub, which is just difficult to understand,” said the lawyer, Michael A. Zuk.

The death ruling is final, but the full report was unavailable because it was awaiting transcription. TC mark

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