Sep 17, 2013

Was Michael Jackson A Drug Addict Before His Death?

Dr. Stuart Finkelstein, who treated MJ during the 1993 “Dangerous” tour, says that yes, the singer was already addicted to prescription drugs at that point. The story has surfaced because the physician is testifying in the wrongful death trial currently determining who is to blame for the singer’s untimely death.

Continuous use

Dr. Finkelstein traveled internationally with MJ and when he realized that Michael was heavily abusing opiates, mainly in the form of morphine and Demerol, he told MJ’s camp of his concern. He communicated to an AEG Live executive and to Michael’s tour manager, Paul Gongaware, who is actually now also an AEG Live executive, that in his professional opinion, Michael Jackson is a drug addict. The physician gave Michael a shot of Demerol and a 24-hour intravenous morphine drip while the crew was in Thailand for a performance.

While on that leg of the tour, Michael complained of a severe headache, so Dr. Finkelstein called MJ’s Los Angeles doctor, who gave the orders to administer an injection of Demerol. The physician testified that Michael Jackson’s "buttocks were so scarred up and abscessed that the needle almost bent. He obviously had had multiple injections in his buttocks prior to arriving in Bangkok."

When Michael felt unable to perform, Dr. Finkelstein gave him another 24-hour dose of morphine. The physician was alarmed to see that Michael also wore a Duragesic patch, which allowed the user to absorb another form of opiate through direct contact with skin.

While testifying, Dr. Finkelstein also informed the court that MJ’s make-up artist and hairstylist was seen giving Michael Demerol injections. It appears that the singer has convinced everyone in his life to help him use opiates in various forms. It is actually quite amazing to think that the most popular performer in the world was addicted to such a harmful set of substances for so many years.

Refusing help

Apparently some of those closest to Michael also knew of his drug addiction. The “Dangerous” tour did not make it to all the intended cities. MJ’s good friend, Elizabeth Taylor, flew into Mexico City for an intervention. She took Michael to a hospital in England immediately, but his drug use did not stop.

The singer’s team did not do anything with the information at the time and the tour and his career were back to their number one priority. Michael continued to receive opiates via injections, patches, and ongoing drips.

What Michael needed instead was for his friends and family to look into drug rehab programs for men. Michael could have really benefited from formal rehab that forced him to be clean and to address his reasons for drug use.

Drug rehab programs for men could have offered MJ an opportunity to develop camaraderie and support that he and never before experienced. For the first time, the singer could have found understanding and relatability, and he could have worked through the tumultuous childhood and fame that seemed to haunt him. Instead, he self-medicated for decades and left behind three children.

A quality improvement manager at Balboa Horizons, Kate Green is passionate about assisting others on their journey in overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. Learn more about the addiction treatment process on this infographic.

Image Credit: 1, 2.

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