Former Winona Doc Denies Drug Abuse
Dr. Jules Lusman, the physician whose name cropped up in a Los Angeles County probation report released in the wake of Winona Ryder's sentencing on shoplifting charges, denied on Monday that he knowingly allows patients to abuse drugs and blamed a handful of "problem patients" for his own downfall.
"I certainly did not believe at the time I attended to her professionally that she was in an abusive situation," Lusman told the TV show "Inside Edition" from his mother's home in South Africa. "I would never, ever prescribe a person multiple medications simultaneously."
The Santa Monica, Calif., doctor reportedly specializes in laser hair removal and skin resurfacing. On Friday, the Medical Board of California cited him for incompetence in the case of eight patients, say reports. Ryder was not identified by name in the board's report on Lusman.
Also on Friday, Beverly Hills Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox sentenced Ryder, 31, to three years' probation for grand theft and vandalism at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills on Dec. 12, 2001.
When she was arrested, store security guards and Beverly Hills cops found Ryder carrying a syringe and seven different kinds of painkillers, according to the 27-page probation report.
An investigation of the "Girl, Interrupted" actress found that she received 37 medications from 20 doctors between January 1996 and December 1998, the report states.
Ryder's lawyer, Mark Geragos, had argued in vain to have the report sealed, saying he was trying to "preserve some shred of privacy" for Ryder. But the prosecutor in the case, Ann Rundle, argued back that all felons give up their right to privacy.
Judge Fox, agreeing to remove some irrelevant facts from the report, concurred with Rundle.