Nation/World

Jackson death probe focusing on drugs

WASHINGTON – The Los Angeles Police Department’s request for federal drug agents to join the investigation of Michael Jackson’s death indicates that illegal activity may be suspected in the dispensing of painkillers, sedatives, antidepressants or other medications to the 50-year-old entertainer, according to a law enforcement official.

Some of Jackson’s friends, family and confidants have come forward to say that he was abusing painkillers and other prescription drugs over a long period of time, and that perhaps others in his ever-changing entourage kept him supplied, which could be illegal. The DEA is investigating various possibly related activities, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

The LAPD’s request for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to get involved in the case is typical because of its experience and jurisdiction in investigating suspected drug overdoses and other deaths in which the use or abuse of drugs and prescription medication is suspected to have played a role, the official said.

In another sign of a widening probe, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said Thursday that his office is providing the LAPD with help.

Brown said state law enforcement officials are using the computer database to mine for information on prescription drugs that will be passed on to investigators with the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division.

The database – called CURES, or Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System – contains the name of every doctor that prescribes controlled medicine, the person for whom the drug is prescribed, the quantity and the date.

“We are using it to probe for relevant information in the Jackson case,” Brown said.

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office has said it was conducting tests to determine whether Jackson overdosed on prescription medications that he was taking.

Authorities removed prescription drugs and other medical evidence from the Holmby Hills home where Jackson died. A law enforcement source told the Los Angeles Times that Propofol, a powerful anesthetic, was among the drugs recovered.



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