Propofol (also known as Diprivan) is a medication that is used by anesthesiologists to put patients to sleep during a surgery or procedure. Many know it as one of the drugs that killed pop icon Michael Jackson in 2009. A new study is now showing that a growing trend in the medical world is abuse of this drug by the health care professionals that administer them.
Data was taken from an addiction center that specializes in substance abuse in health care workers. Twenty-two healthcare professionals between 1990 and 2010 were found to have a Propofol addiction. During that period there was an increase in the numbers and it now accounts for 1.6% of drug abuse in the healthcare field.
Of those 22 patients, 13 were doctors, eight were nurses, and one was a dentist. Most of the doctors and the nurses were the ones who administered the drug to the patient so they had easy access to it. These findings were published in the April edition of Journal of Addiction Medicine.
The study showed that Propofol abusers were more likely to be women than men. It also showed that many of these patients were either depressed or had a history of child abuse or s*xual abuse in their lives. Most of them had a history of substance abuse in their families as well and a surprisingly high number had family members with schizophrenia.
Many of the patients with an addiction started by taking the Propofol to help them to fall asleep, but then quickly became addicted. Most sought treatment shortly after. Some sought treatment after just one binge on the drug. Around half of the patients started using the drug after traumatic events such as injuries or car accidents. Five had been admitted to treatment after they were found unconscious as a result of using the drug. Researchers said that this problem could possibly be prevented if the characteristics of addiction were monitored closely.