If you live in Southern California, and even if you don’t, you may have been following the trial of Doctor Conrad Murray – Michael Jackson’s personal doctor, who was with the pop star at the time of his death back in 2009. Much of the controversy of the trial, and Jackson’s death, surrounds the alleged use of the drug propofol as a sleep aid
.How it All Began
The music icon had been the center of media scandals for a long time, and in recent years he had started looking ill. Racked with grief and confusion, fans began wondering what could have happened to Michael in his last moments of life. What killed the King of Pop? Was it poison? Suicide? Natural causes? Through heavy investigation into the matter, police and detectives have found that the most likely cause of death was a fatal overdose of propofol. What is Propofol?
So what exactly is this mysterious drug that has been popping up all over the media since Michael Jackson's death? Propofol is a hypnotic agent
(basically a very powerful anesthetic) that is short acting, taking very little time to affect the person taking it. It is administered intravenously (through the veins) and helps induce and maintain anesthesia, as well as sedate adults on mechanical ventilators.
And it’s not just for human use, either. Many veterinarians use it with animals whenever they may need to sedate them. When the drug is being prepared for injection, it takes on a milky look. This look is what prompted it to be called the "milk of amnesia" by many, and even Michael Jackson called it his “milk.” The euphoria brought on by taking propofol has been reported to be much stronger than other anesthetics, though the feeling fades faster.
One does not have to take a fatal dose of propofol to suffer from side effects. Continuous or frequent use may cause low blood pressure, transient apnea (forgetting to breathe), and the most frequent one; pain on injection. While this usually happens when the drug is injected into smaller veins, it can still occur in larger veins. Propofol and the Trial
Just as with any drug, propofol is most dangerous when taken in large quantities. Michael Jackson was apparently taking excessive dosages for a long period of time. Evidence displayed at a hearing of Murray revealed stashes of medical debris such as torn IV packaging, bloody gauze pads, used catheter tubing, needles and syringes. Disturbingly, police also discovered a small duffel bag with a polka dot bowtie that had the words "Baby Essentials" written on it, and inside were over 37 bottles of propofol and other related medications.
While it is not clear what exactly
caused the King of Pop's death, evidence strongly suggests that it was indeed a fatal overdose of propofol. Conrad Murray is being tried on involuntary manslaughter for allowing the superstar to (perhaps deliberately) poison himself. Several tapes have been released where Murray is heard talking to Michael, and the pop icon is responding in a very slow, breathy voice. We may never know what truly happened that day, but one thing is certain; whether or not Michael Jackson did succumb to the drug due to his doctor's negligence, propofol is not something to be taken lightly. And anyone who needs it should be well supervised at all times.