NATIONAL

[Newsmaker] Actor suspected of propofol abuse

By Kim So-hyun
  • Published : Feb 14, 2020 - 13:01
  • Updated : Feb 16, 2020 - 09:57

(Yonhap)

Prosecutors are looking into about 10 people suspected of drug abuse, including a famous actor, a chaebol scion, an entertainment agency CEO and a well-known fashion designer, SBS reported Thursday.

Those suspected allegedly got habitual propofol injections for non-medical purposes over the past several years at a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul’s Gangnam, the broadcaster said.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety requested for an investigation, as the clinic used excessive amounts of propofol, a highly addictive psychoactive drug prohibited for non-medical use.

Late last year, prosecutors searched the clinic and obtained circumstantial evidence that the actor and the others received illegal propofol injections. Prosecutors had gone over the clinic’s medical records and questioned its staff. The head of the clinic and one of its staff have been detained.

Propofol is a prescription drug used to induce anesthesia during surgeries and tests. It reduces anxiety but could cause hallucinations.

In 2009, American pop star Michael Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication.

In Korea, propofol has been categorized as narcotics since 2011. Therefore, propofol injections for non-medical purposes are illegal.

In 2013, actresses Lee Seung-yeon, Park Si-yeon and Jang Mi-inae were sentenced to suspended jail terms for abusing propofol. Television personality Amy was also given a suspended sentence of eight months in prison in 2012 for recreational use of propofol.

Prosecutors have interrogated the head of the entertainment agency and plan to summon others for questioning on their alleged drug abuse.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)