Sunderland medic’s warning on danger of ‘Jacko’ drug

Sunderland University's Tania Jones

Sunderland University's Tania Jones

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A MEDICAL expert from Sunderland University today spoke of the dangers surrounding the drug used by Michael Jackson just hours before his death.

Tania Jones, 29, a senior lecturer in pharmacy practice, today described how propofol should not be used outside of a hospital environment.

Tania said: “It’s a drug that is only used in specialist situations under specialist supervision. Not just any doctor can use it.”

Michael Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray is on trial in Los Angeles accused of involuntary manslaughter of the superstar in August 2009.

A coroner ruled that Jackson had been killed by an overdose of propofol, administered by an intravenous drip.

The relaxant drug valium and insomnia treatments lorazepam and midazolam were also found in the singer’s body.

Tania said that propofol was not available to purchase over the counter. “You can not just ask a GP to prescribe it,” she said. “Not even pharmacies stock it. You certainly can’t walk into Boots and buy it.”

“It’s not something I’ve seen used that often. I used to work in a hospital and it was used in theatre.”

Propofol can also pose some health risks and side effects to any user.

Tania said: “It can make blood pressure drop, it can give flushing of the skin, hyperventilation, coughing and headaches. It is used for sedation, putting people under and maintaining that, but it is not used for helping with insomnia.

“The licensed use is to induce anaesthesia or sedation in intensive care or a surgical procedure.”

Tania added: “There’s nothing else that it could be allowed for. It is not just used on a ward and it definitely could not be used in a home environment.”

Murray is accused of ordering just over four gallons of the sedative between April and June 2009. He has denied involuntary manslaughter.

Twitter:@Sunderlandecho