Since the death of Michael Jackson, prescription drug abuse is getting more attention from the media. The first allegations were published online shortly after the news of his broke demise.
Prescription Drug Abuse Basics
Many people feel that prescription drug abuse isn't as serious as using illegal drugs. In fact, people who are being treated for medical conditions can become addicted to some of the same medications that are prescribed to help them. If the patients don't get the results they are expecting from the medication, they may begin to take it more often than the doctor has directed. An addiction can also start when the patient uses a prescribed medication in a higher dose than the doctor has instructed him or her to take.
Over time, patients may need to take more and more of the medication to get relief from pain or, as in the case of chronic insomniac Michael Jackson, be able to sleep. They may also experience cravings for the medication in between doses. Another way that prescription medications can be abused is when people begin taking drugs that were never prescribed for them in the first place.
Michael Jackson Prescription Drug Abuse: The Story
Since the King of Pop's death, news sources have been reporting that Jackson had issues with prescription drug abuse. A number of news stories focused on trying to find someone to blame for the fact that Michael Jackson had a history of abusing prescription drugs.
Cause of Death for Michael Jackson
As of August of 2009, the official cause of death was listed as "acute propofol intoxication". California authorities declared Jackson's death a homicide. Propofol is also known as Diprivan, and it is used as a general anesthetic. The drug is usually given intravenously as a sedative to patients who are undergoing surgery.
Propofol produces a sleepy feeling in surgical patients. They fall asleep rapidly when the medication is administered, and wake up quickly when it is shut off. The drug is so powerful that it is only supposed to be used in operating rooms so that the patient can be monitored carefully. If he or she stops breathing while under the influence of the medication, the medical team must take quick action to deal with the situation.
News stories have been released indicating that Jackson had specifically requested that he be given propofol to help him cope with the problem of insomnia caused by stress over the planned 50-date tour he was preparing for at the time of his death.
According to a news story published by USA Today, the autopsy found a veritable cocktail of drugs in Michael Jackson's system, including:
Diazepam, Lidocaine and Midazlolam are all sedatives. Ephedrine is used as a decongestant and is not recommended for people who have a history of high blood pressure, seizures and heart conditions. Lidocaine is used as an anesthetic during dental surgery. It's possible that this drug was being given to Jackson to treat some of the side effects associated with propofol, including a burning sensation.
Over time, Michael Jackson's prescription drug abuse may have led the singer to develop a tolerance for the medications he was being given. He would need higher doses to get the benefits of taking the medications.
Doctors Under Investigation
On August 28, 2009, California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced that his office would conduct an independent investigation into the actions of the doctors who were treating Jackson. None of the doctors who will be investigated were named at that time.
The story continues to develop, but the death of Michael Jackson will be on the minds of the public for some time to come.