Irsay arrest raises questions about history of addiction problems

Jim Irsay left the Hamilton County Jail after posting $22,500 bond.

The discovery of controlled substances and medications inside several pill bottles in Jim Irsay's SUV renews concerns about an old problem.

The Colts owner has battled whispers about his sobriety as far back as 1995. That's the year his name first surfaced in the midst of an Indianapolis Police Department investigation.

Dr. James Dickerson, who is now deceased, had written Irsay numerous prescriptions for powerful opiates like Lorcet. Local pharmacists raised red flags, Dickerson lost his license and Jim Irsay quietly went to rehab.

Fast forward to November 2002. Jim Irsay issued a public statement admitting he was addicted to painkillers after a WTHR investigative report. Irsay said he had become dependent on prescription pain medications "after several years of orthopedic operations and procedures."

At the time his name had emerged in a federal DEA investigation targeting the prescribing habits of local plastic surgeon, Dr. Greg Chernoff. Dr. Chernoff agreed to three years probation as part of a settlement with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board for failing to properly document patient treatment. Jim Irsay re-entered treatment himself.

Irsay emerged from treatment and in 2007 he went on to see his team win its first Super Bowl.

Then last October..more questions surfaced. Jim Irsay went on his Twitter account to defend allegations that he might have been under the influence during an ESPN interview. He wrote, "I'm working. Sorry naysayers, I don't drink..haven't in over 15-years..."

Irsay appeared to have cut ties with many of those involved in earlier cases. Some of those involved have died. Others have moved on.

One local doctor who says he tried to help Jim Irsay overcome his addictions spoke with us today by phone.

Tom Hoshour tells Eyewitness News he still believes in Jim Irsay, saying "He is a winner." Hoshour says he hasn't "seen Irsay for many years" but believes "he can overcome this.

"I wish him the best," Hoshour said.

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