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Michael Jackson also called the King of Pop, has been a well-liked performer ever since he entered the music world in 1964. As is amply proven, even among the most influential cultural personalities are not immune to the perils of narcotics. If you watched the prosecution of Michael Jackson’s doctors following his death, you would not have been surprised by the guilty verdict.

Given that Jackson’s primary complaint was difficulty sleeping, Dr. Conrad Murray prescribed him several benzodiazepines until he requested propofol.

Prosecutors constructed a compelling case that Michael Jackson died after Dr. Conrad Murray gave him a substantial dosage of propofol to assist him in sleeping in combination with the benzos that were already present in the pop star’s system, determining that acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication was the cause of death.

Michael Jackson died of severe propofol intoxication on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50, in Los Angeles, California. The issues began when the celebrity was up late practicing for his last This Is It tour. When he returned home, weariness, fatigue, exhaustion, and insomnia troubled him. On the morning of June 25, 2009, Dr. Murray delivered a variety of sleep-inducing medications to Jackson over a period of several hours. These medications included propofol, benzodiazepines such as midazolam, lorazepam, and diazepam, ephedrine (a stimulant and suppressant of appetite) and lidocaine.

Jackson’s inability to leave his room eventually prompted concern. That afternoon, his doctor, Conrad Murray discovered Jackson in his bedroom on North Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of the city with a weak pulse and not breathing; he tried to resuscitate him with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) but with no success, and the security contacted 9-1-1 at 12:21 p.m. PDT (UTC–7). Jackson was managed by paramedics at the site, but he was declared dead at 2:26 pm at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood. Murray’s efforts to resuscitate Jackson were questioned and criticized, notably his decision to conduct CPR on the singer on a soft surface rather than a solid one, which rendered the technique ineffectual.

Murray later stated that he did not know the address well enough to call paramedics because there was no telephone in the residence. As a consequence, thirty minutes had passed before security at the celebrity’s residence contacted paramedics.

Based on the autopsy report of 2009, the singer’s abolishment or cessation of breathing was caused by acute propofol intoxication, and Michael Jackson’s drug death was confirmed. In addition to propofol (a hypnotic medicine utilized for sedation, general anesthesia, and in veterinary medicine), the examiner discovered minute amounts of lorazepam (a benzodiazepine medication used to treat insomnia and anxiety), midazolam (another benzodiazepine usually used for medical sedation and insomnia), lidocaine (a local anesthetic frequently combined with propofol to alleviate injection site pain), diazepam (a benzos derived sedative, generally used to manage generalized anxiety disorder) in the blood circulation of Michael Jackson.

The medical examiner concluded that propofol and benzodiazepines were given by a third party in order to justify the claim that the death was a homicide. Propofol was given outside of a hospital environment without a valid medical reason. The standard care for propofol administration was not observed.

Jackson’s death was probed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD); the former agency had the responsibility to investigate matters normally shielded by doctor-patient nondisclosure, enabling it to track down the complicated trail of prescription medications provided to Jackson.

The DEA largely focused on at least 5 doctors who provided drug prescriptions to Michael Jackson, attempting to ascertain if they had a “face-to-face” interaction with him and provided a legally needed diagnosis. At least nine physicians were being investigated. The police wished to interview thirty physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, among them Arnold Klein. Klein stated that he had sometimes given Jackson pethidine to put him to sleep, but nothing stronger and that he had provided the forensic pathologist with his records.

Jackson’s longtime video producer, Marc Schaffel, stated that the superstar had used propofol, sertraline (an antidepressant), and alprazolam (an anti-anxiety medication). Additionally, hydrocodone, omeprazole, carisoprodol, paroxetine, and hydromorphone were used occasionally. After his death, authorities discovered many narcotics in his residence, including propofol, and an acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication was first believed as the cause of death. Some of these medications bore labels with bogus names, while others were unlabeled. According to a 2004 police report produced for the 2005 People v. Jackson child abuse trial, Jackson was taking as much as 40 alprazolam tablets every night. At the time of his death, no Alprazolam was detected in his blood. Dr. A. J. Farshchian, a friend of Jackson’s, indicated that he feared drugs.

Eugene Aksenoff, a Tokyo-based doctor who had managed Michael Jackson’s health and his children on multiple occasions, raised concern regarding Jackson’s drug use. According to him, Jackson requested stimulants so that he could endure some physically demanding concerts, but he refused to provide such drugs to him. He recounted  Jackson’s chronic exhaustion, insomnia, fever, and other symptoms, as well as his heavy drug use. He believed that the excess use of steroids or other skin-lightening drugs was one of the primary causes of these symptoms.

Janet Jackson asserted that the Jackson family planned and tried to conduct an intervention while she was residing in Las Vegas in early 2007. She and three of her brothers apparently traveled to his residence, but security officers were instructed not to let them in. He was also said to have rejected his mother’s phone calls. Nevertheless, the family denied any attempt at intervention.

Investigators were mainly concerned about the potent anesthetic propofol (Diprivan), which is delivered intravenously to establish and maintain anesthesia during surgery. The medicine is termed “milk of amnesia” for its opaque, milk-like texture (a play on the phrase “milk of magnesia”). It has been linked to cardiac arrest, however, it may be widely employed off-label as an anti-anxiety drug and has other medically unjustified uses. Some empty and some full propofol bottles were discovered in Jackson’s residence.

Michael Jackson overdosed on a cocktail of benzos including lorazepam, diazepam, and midazolam, as well as the anesthetic propofol. Benzodiazepines are a family of psychotropic medications used to treat disorders such as anxiety, sleeplessness, and seizures.

Given that Jackson’s primary complaint was difficulty sleeping, Dr. Murray prescribed him several benzodiazepines until the administration of propofol was requested by Michael Jackson.

Jackson suffered benzodiazepine and propofol intoxication or an overdose as a result. Possible adverse effects of Jackson’s acute exposure to propofol and benzodiazepines include the following:

  • Impaired reasoning
  • Somnolence or sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Unsteadiness
  • Sluggish heart rate
  • Lisping or slurring of speech
  • Ataxia or weak motor function
  • Slowing down of breathing or respiratory depression
  • Shock
  • Unconsciousness

It is usual for people who overdose on sedatives such as benzos or propofol to exhibit delayed breathing; hence, individuals who are given these medicines are always thoroughly watched. Due to his irresponsible administration of benzodiazepines and propofol to Michael Jackson, Dr. Murray was guilty of involuntary manslaughter and spent less than two years of his four-year sentence.

Cherilyn Lee, a nurse who served as Jackson’s nutritionist, stated on June 30 that he requested propofol to assist him in sleeping in May, but she refused. He disclosed that he had previously been prescribed the medication for chronic insomnia and that a physician had deemed it safe. Lee reported receiving a phone call from a Jackson assistant on June 21 informing her that Jackson was ill, despite no longer working for him. She overheard Jackson complaining that one half of his body was hot and the other half was freezing. She instructed the assistant to take Jackson to the hospital.

Arnold Klein stated that Jackson received propofol from an anesthesiologist to aid in his sleep while on tour in Germany. During the 1996 and 1997 HIStory tours, the anesthetist would “take him down” overnight and “bring him back up” in the day.

Similarly, as previously indicated, Jackson was taking up to 40 alprazolam (a benzodiazepine) tablets per night, which might produce acute intoxication and possibly death due to the effects of benzos on the cardiorespiratory systems.

  1. Acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication: Is this what killed Michael Jackson?: Banyan Treatment Centers, Banyan Treatment Center. Available at: https://www.banyantreatmentcenter.com/2022/05/31/acute-propofol-and-benzodiazepine-intoxication-is-this-what-killed-michael-jackson.
  2. Factbox: The drugs that caused Michael Jackson’s death. Reuters. Thomson Reuters. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-jackson-drugs-idUSTRE6174A420100209.
  3. What is propofol–and how could it have killed Michael Jackson?, Scientific American. Scientific American. Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/propofol-michael-jackson-doctor.
  4. Propofol: The drug that killed Michael Jackson, Harvard Health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/propofol-the-drug-that-killed-michael-jackson-201111073772.

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