DEA sheds light on investigation into Chargers doctor Chao

SAN DIEGO -- The Drug Enforcement Administration said Wednesday that it doesn't believe Dr. David Chao of the Chargers' medical staff was personally using medications even though he apparently had written at least 108 drug prescriptions to himself since 2008.

DEA spokeswoman Amy Roderick said the agency is continuing the investigation that started June 29 when it searched the offices of the Chargers and Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres, their doctors and their pharmacies.

"Based on what we have reviewed, we have no reason to believe that he was using the medication himself," Roderick said.

In a statement Wednesday night, Chao denied the implication of self-use or self-prescribing of controlled substances and said he will continue to appropriately treat injuries.

DEA agents learned Chao apparently had written at least 108 drug prescriptions to himself since June 10, 2008, which would violate controlled-substance regulations, according to recently unsealed search warrant affidavits, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on its Web site.

Doctors who write prescriptions to themselves sometimes do it to fill office supplies, even though it is illegal, Glen Crick, a Chicago attorney who has represented medical practitioners, told the newspaper.

The DEA investigation comes several weeks after the Chargers released safety Kevin Ellison, who was arrested in May in Redondo Beach, Calif., on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance. Police said a search of Ellison's vehicle turned up 100 pills of Vicodin.

The Chargers said then, and Chao reiterated Wednesday, that Ellison didn't receive the Vicodin from anyone associated with the team.

Chao said he is dedicated to the care of athletes and provides care "with the highest standards, consistent with that of all major sports leagues."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press