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Propofol Abuse: Michael Jackson, and the Growing Trend in Healthcare

 

When we think of substances that are growing trends in terms of abuse, general anesthesia is rarely one of the top five drugs that come to mind. However, Propofol (brand name Diprivan,) a common anesthesia and sedative, is showing worrisome trends as a growing addictive substance, especially amongst healthcare professionals.

While this drug came to the spotlight a few years back in Michael Jackson’s death, it has gone largely unnoticed because of the roaring issue of prescription narcotics and other illicit substances. Although it may just be in the early stages of being understood, it is imperative that we notice the growing trend of Propofol addiction, due to its addictive potential and unregulated quantities.

As with many addictive substances, there are many precursors that people who abuse Propofol tend to have in common. For instance, women are more likely than men to use Propofol, and most people who found themselves dependent on this drug come from abusive childhoods and suffer from depression.

Unsurprisingly, they also often show a family history of substance abuse and a higher-than-expected number of family members who suffer from schizophrenia. Also, most people who become dependent on Propofol initially begin using the drug to overcome insomnia and quickly find themselves hooked.

Most of the cases that have been studied in terms of Diprivan addiction are within the healthcare profession, where it is easily accessed, because the FDA doesn’t consider Propofol to be a controlled substance, making it easier to steal than other prescription drugs.

There are many problems with abusing Propofol, and one of them is the extremely small window between the desired high and a lethal amount. Unlike other substances, it is nearly impossible to be slightly impaired with Diprivan. Rather, most people inject it and then pass out – often resulting in cuts, car accidents, or other mishaps.

In a single year, Propofol addiction went from being a phenomenon to a question on a regular questionnaire at an addiction center for healthcare professionals. Although most of the studies thus far involve healthcare professionals, it’s important to understand that this can grow into a popular societal trend, as it has already done in other areas.

Because Propofol addiction is a relatively recent phenomenon, as are the methods of assessing and treating this dependence, it is highly likely that we are missing out on scores of people from all walks of life who are suffering with this same addiction.

For instance, the King of Pop created a splash when Propofol was one of the substances that were blamed for his death. Recently, four South Korean celebrities were arrested for using Propofol in a non-medical way as were their doctors for administering it (in a country that has declared this a psychotropic medication). It is of the utmost importance that we learn to recognize the potential for this problem to spread, especially as it is currently not seen as a substance that needs to be heavily monitored.

From pills to street drugs, there are a-million-and-one addictive substances. Propofol is yet the latest to show an increasing trend of abuse, and although the numbers are comparatively small to other substances, it is important that we take note of its use. With its potential for addiction, dangerous nature, and easy accessibility, this drug could cause lethal problems, both in and out of the healthcare field. Hopefully, it can be curbed before it reaches proportions of other addictive drugs.

 

Works Cited:

France-Presse, Agence. S. Korean TV celebs charged with propofol abuse. 14 March 2013. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130314/. 20 March 2013.

Health, Wolters Kluwer. Propofol Abuse Increasing In Health Care Setting. 20 March 2013. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/257844.php. 20 March 2013.

Posner, Gerald. America’s New Drug Addiction. 6 August 2009. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/08/06/americas-new-drug-addiction.html. 20 March 2013.

 

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Filed under: Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, Substance Abuse · Tags: Diprivan, King of Pop, Michael Jackson, Prescription Drug Abuse, propofol, Propofol addiction