Thursday, July 9, 2009

Michael Jackson and Medications

It seems like all the current discussions revolving around Michael Jackson today revolved around his use of prescription drugs. The media seems to be making it sounds like Michael was just another addict, not addressing why he might have been taking so many medications. Medications like Demerol, a narcotic painkiller, and Xanax, a benzodiazepine, are notorious for their issues concerning abuse/misuse. But also, there is the issue of tolerance, needing more and more of these drugs to achieve the desired or needed outcome, i.e. relief of pain or relief from anxiety. And then even, there is the issue of withdrawal, too, creating this cycle of need. Michael was in a lot of pain, physical and mental pain, and suffered from anxiety, too, from the stress of the allegations brought against him. Then, you toss into the bucket someone giving him Diprivan for insomnia, which should never have even happened anywhere in the world. I haven't watched the interview with Dr. Arnie Klein yet, but if he knew Michael had used Diprivan in the past, did he report it to the DEA? I would think he would have needed to do that since Diprivan has no business leaving a hospital and obviously Michael was getting this medication while on the road, while on tour. I also heard that Michael might have been being treated for skin cancer on his face, but how on Earth could someone come down with skin cancer when they hadn't had any real sun exposure in years? I guess it is possible, I am not a dermatologist, but just seems like that would be a 1 in a million or more possibility without exposure to the sun. I don't think that vitiligo can cause skin cancer unless you were exposed to the sun. I hope Dr. Klein was indeed a good friend and medical professional to Michael, I really hope so. But as of current, I just don't know.

Just a quick offset - why in the hell is a drug like Xanax a Schedule IV, last I checked, a drug that is prescribed to patients and is dangerous as it can cause severe respiratory depression, yet a drug like marijuana is a Schedule I and has no such risks for respiratory depression? Why is alcohol available so easily when it can be more addictive than a benzodiazepine? It seems like things are really screwed up concerning these substances and others, if you ask me. Why as a pharmacy student was I taught that it is best tell my patients about side effects such as an upset stomach, muscle weakness, drowsiness, but I have been told not to tell patients about the more rare, severe side effects? I think patients need to know that something like Xanax can make you stop breathing and kill you. My grandmother died from an antibiotic which caused pulmonary fibrosis, and her sister died from the same disease but via another medication. Why were they not taken off of these medications? It wasn't like they developed the disease in a day - it took months to develop and they should have been saved. Patients need to read up and know their medications almost as well as a pharmacist or doctor, but hell, doctors really do not know much about medications. Prescriptions are NOT 100% safe. They CAN kill. I have also been taught in school that when it comes to using narcotics, most people are NOT addicts, and a patient should receive what is necessary to alleviate their pain. What if someone like Michael was STILL in pain? So is he an addict, or was he receiving the needed dose to alleviate his pain? Where is the line? It is so gray, it is so pale, that it really cannot even be seen. That is just ridiculous. These drugs should not be killing people!

I don't think Michael ever used drugs to get "high". I sit here thinking now, had Michael began misusing these drugs because of quacks that kept giving him medications just to try and please him, in essence, brainwashing him into thinking these drugs were helping? Or, could he have built such a tolerance that he needed such hideous levels of the drugs to alleviate his pain? Or, was he trying to alleviate his emotional pain with physical pain treatments? I don't think the media needs to keep saying he was just an addict and an abuser, but instead, focus on the drugs, their pharmacology, and give people, the general public, a better understanding of what these drugs really are and what they can do to someone like yourself, YOU.

One thing I noticed today - over the years, I witnessed how the horrid accusations brought against Michael in essence destroyed his career. It never destroyed his creativity and genius though, and he always worked so hard and his art was always, always so superb and I look forward to the release of previously unreleased material. At the same time, it breaks my heart that he will not be here to talk about his work and how he went about making it. It kills me to think the art we now see will be things he did in the years before, not recently, not now. But I just noticed today, when those people lied and accused Michael of child molestation, they not only destroyed his career, but they destroyed his life. No one should ever get away with doing that to someone, no one. It doesn't matter whether Michael was the one who pushed to receive the medications or not, I firmly believe he would have never been put into this situation had people not broken his spirit, had not broken his heart. It kills me to see how caring he was, how loving, and to see people try and destroy that, to destroy another human being, but not just any human being, but a human with a heart as big as the universe. He really cared about people, it wasn't a show, just like Princess Diana who worked so hard to help people, based solely on compassion.

I hope that someday a majority of this world will see Michael is a positive light, that they will focus on his art and music foremost, and if they choose to delve further, they will focus on the good things he did in life, his humanitarian work, his good deeds. Then from there, I hope people will see what a good and loving father and family man/friend he was. I hope the drug issues will eventually dissipate, and that people will not see him as just another addicted star like the media appears to keep pushing at, but will instead see him as a victim, a victim of suffering and pain, not only from physical ailments, but also from the way he was taken advantage of by people who were suppose to be his allies - namely, these doctors that need to be put behind bars, but also people who defamed his character and lied. I wish people would stop slandering his name and calling him names and associating him with something like child molestation. Like I said before, I firmly and will always believe he was innocent, and he was found innocent nonetheless, but I see so many people that to this day call him names and accuse him of things when they never even laid eyes upon him. It just stabs me in the heart because if you look deeper, if you try and for one second see things from his mind, his perspective, if you hear the things his closest friends say about him, I really do believe that it could change any doubter's mind about his guilt or innocence. He was not any ordinary person by any means, but it takes someone extraordinary to actually understand him.

1 comment:

  1. Another lovely and relevant post. Thank you.

    What gets me is why people, people famous like Michael, why are they getting these types of drugs on a regular basis, as if they were over the counter aspirin.

    These doctors don’t even think about the consequences of what they are subscribing to these people – just because they are famous or because they ask – does not mean they need it. Sure they might go to another doctor – but why isn’t anyone standing up to break the cycle?

    I have need painkillers in the past – and I can tell you one thing – morphine was never mentioned.

    Thanks for your post on this.