| 12.2°C Dublin

Tragic model 'spent her life in pain'

Anna Nicole Smith was in pain most of her life, said a doctor who treated her with prescription drugs for chronic pain syndrome -- even though he considered her an addict.

"People with substance abuse disorders have the right to pain relief," said Dr Victor Kovner, who treated Smith for three years before he sold his practice to Dr Sandeep Kapoor, a defendant in the drug conspiracy case.

"Did you perceive her to be an addict?" Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose asked the physician.

"Yes. I believe she had addictive behaviours, but it was controlled," Kovner replied.

Dr Kapoor, Dr Khristine Eroshevich and Smith's boyfriend-lawyer Howard K. Stern deny conspiring to provide Smith with excessive drugs, prescribing to an addict, and prescribing under fraudulent names. They are not charged with causing her death from a drug overdose.

Kovner said he thought Stern cared for Smith.

"He was very responsible regarding her medications," the doctor said. "He was concerned about her overusing."

Kovner said Smith told him when they met in 2001 that she was an addict and had been treated at the Betty Ford Center.

Kovner later learned she had suffered from migraines and seizures as a child. She also reported pain in her back, arm and intestinal area. After failing to find a physical cause for the pain, Kovner he treated her for chronic pain syndrome with methadone and other drugs.

Kovner said Smith took prescription drugs for physical and emotional relief. Some of the medications he prescribed were for anxiety and depression.

Kovner acknowledged he and other unnamed doctors had prescribed medications for Smith under three different names -- Anna Nicole Smith, her stage name; Vicky Lynn Marshall, her legal name; and Michelle Chase, a pseudonym.

hnews@herald.ie