Alicia Mundy of The Wall Street Journal reports that abuse of the common anesthetic propofol has become a problem the medical profession, where the drug is plentiful and easy to access. The powerful, fast-acting drug enters the bloodstream quickly and makes the user unconscious.
Mundy does note that “The number of people with a propofol problem is small, and there is little data tracking addictions or death.”
The FDA is considering whether to classify propofol as a controlled substance, which professionals say might be problematic because the sedative, which is suspected to have contributed to Michael Jackson’s death, needs to be readily available during emergencies. If it were to become a controlled substance, hospitals would have to “track inventory, account for all vials, list users, and lock it up with narcotics.”
Mundy cites another concern: “Tighter regulation might impede doctors and nurses from seeking help for addiction, because abusing a DEA-controlled drug is more likely to cost them their licenses and lead to criminal charges.”