Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Prescription to Die

Michael Jackson

The drama of Michael Jackson's prescription drug addiction is unfolding at this writing. Though the initial cause of death cited by the coroner's office on June 25, 2009, was cardiac arrest, it soon became clear that drugs were played a big part in the departure of the King of Pop. Jackson has had a known addiction to prescription drugs since the early 1990s, while he was being investigated for child sexual abuse. He was said to have been given Valium, itself an addictive drug, in an attempt to wean him off of DF-118, a painkiller. The New York Times reported that Jackson had been receiving one shot of Demerol a day for some time, causing his family to become concerned and plan an intervention. He had acquiesced and gone to an outpatient program recently, according to the Times article.

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson

Like other celebrities, Jackson had doctors at his beck and call. He had reportedly hired Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor currently being investigated by the DEA and the Los Angeles Police Department for his involvement with Jackson's death, for $150,000 a month. Murray was to travel with him to London for commencement of a 50-date tour. It is being reported in various outlets, that Dr. Murray has already told police that he gave Jackson a shot of Propofol the night before Jackson died. If this is true, the doctor had been using the drug in an off-label matter. Only anesthesiologists are typically allowed to administer the drug; patients receiving it from them are continuously monitored with an EKG machine, which was reportedly not present in Jackson's case. In addition, ABC News reported that Demerol and Oxycontin were also reportedly present in Jackson's blood. Police also found as many as 20 different drugs in Jackson's rented Los Angeles house, including methadone, percocet, dilaudid, vicodin, and fentanyl.

Even sadder is the possibility that Jackson's death may have been the result of a careless mistake: Murray had allegedly fallen asleep after administering the Propofol. Were it not for that, the King of Pop might still be alive.

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