MJ’s Death Drug Related?

While news pundits compare Michael Jackson’s sudden death to the day Elvis died, reports surfacing today indicate the King of Pop might have something else in common with the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll as stories of possible prescription-drug abuse begin to emerge.

In death as in life, some of the more revealing stories about Jackson are coming from those who knew him.

You might have already seen Brian Oxman on TV. The former Jackson attorney and friend of the family appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” this morning where he insinuated Jackson’s passing might have been chemically caused.

Photo: AP Photo
Flags fly at half mast in honor of Michael Jackson at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

“I said one day, we’re going to have this experience. And when Anna Nicole Smith passed away, I said we cannot have this kind of thing with Michael Jackson,” Oxman said. “The result was, I warned everyone, and lo and behold, here we are. I don’t know what caused his death. But I feared this day, and here we are.”

Jackson best bud Liza Minnelli echoed Oxman’s remarks. During a phone-in to CBS’s “The Early Show” Minnelli said “When the autopsy comes, all hell’s going to break loose, so thank God we’re celebrating him now.”

To be sure, Jackson was no stranger to prescription painkillers. The entertainer had experienced several injuries over the years, including a broken leg and broken vertebrae in his back, and has been suspected of undergoing several plastic surgery procedures.

The district attorney who prosecuted Jackson for child molestation charges in 2005 argued against returning some of Jackson’s possessions. Referring to the performer’s property as “contraband,” Santa Barbara County D.A. Tom Sneddon said the items included syringes and Demerol as well as several drugs, mostly antibiotics, prescribed to people other than Jackson.

Photo: AP Photo
Boards displaying a London newspaper’s headlines are seen off Piccadily Circus in London.

Although medical examiners are performing the autopsy today, Los Angeles County Coroner’s Watch Commander Lt. Brian Elias said it could take weeks before a cause of death is determined.

Meanwhile, the L.A.P.D. has towed a car – reported to belong to a doctor treating Jackson – from the late singer’s rented estate. Police spokeswoman Karen Rayner said coroner’s investigators want to interview the doctor but have yet to locate him.

Back in the day, Elvis Presley was known among his inner circle to have a such a strong fondness for prescription drugs that he had his own copy of the Physicians’ Desk Reference. Supposedly Presley would look through the reference book for various prescription drugs inducing various states of euphoria and then take note of which disease the drugs were used as treatment for. He would then complain to doctors, often citing the symptoms listed in the book.

Sand sculptures of Michael Jackson, a guitar and his fedora hat, made by Sudarshan Pattnaik on a beach near Puri, India.

In 1980 Dr. George C. Nichopoulos (Dr. Nick) was indicted on 14 counts of over-prescribing drugs to several patients, including Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Although he was acquitted on all counts, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners found him guilty of over-prescribing and suspended him from practicing medicine for three months. The same medical board would permanently yank his medical license in 1995 for again over-prescribing to patients.