Michael Jackson: Rx for an early death

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Michael Jackson’s premature death has shocked the world. His talent was so transcendent, it’s difficult to understand how his last decades could be so marked by severe drug misuse that it has cut short his life.

Those who knew him tell of his physical and psychic pain. But most addicts suffer psychic pain — often not fully appreciated until they begin to unearth their demons in treatment. Like Michael, many addicts are hooked in the course of proper medical treatment. Most physicians appreciate the potential for patients becoming addicted. This can occur even with the most prudent medical management. But the combination of sorrow over declining bodily powers and physical pain provide an all too common pathway to prescription drug misuse. Sadly, there are physicians who become passively or actively involved in their patient’s addiction to prescription drugs. Moreover, it’s also very difficult to say “no” to someone with Michael’s star power. Many prescription drug addicts see multiple doctors, zigging and zagging between different doctors and different pharmacies. Their dose levels rise, and their overall function falls.

I suspect the puzzle of Michael Jackson’s drug use and bodily failure will be more clearly analyzed. But ultimately, his death should be remembered, as was Elvis Presley’s, as preventable, and the enablers, professional or otherwise, should be held accountable.

Mitchell S. Rosenthal, M.D.
Founder, Phoenix House
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  • Sallie

  • It is a very common story. I have seen it time and again. My sister has been doing exactly what you spoke of for years. She goes from one M.D. to another and continually finds ways of obtaining the drugs she needs. Today she is mentally incapable of handling the simplest job and has been on disability for years. She is only forty two years old.

    She told herself for years how sick she was until eventually she became what she spoke. Making herself out to be the victim over the years contributed greatly too. She lied to herself and to others, believed the lies and turned her life into exactly what she never wanted.

    My wife works on the other side of this mess. She is on the frontlines in making doctors who play along pay the price for their actions. Last month she received an award from the government for her work, but she says, “My rewards are in the live that I have saved.”

    I continually work with people who fall into the trap of victim stance, drug addiction and behavioral disorders through out my daily life. This is my passion! With every life that I affect in a positive way my soul is nourished and I am filled.

    Much os these issues stem from not believing in ourselves, blaming others for our problems and anchoring ourselves in inaction. The truth is that we are capable of so much more than what we are conditioned to believe. Remember, we are only limited by what we think is impossible.

  • More and more of us are suspecting drug mismanagement.