Abuse of Propofol
Propofol may go down in history as being the drug that killed Michael Jackson, but it is also devastating the lives of other, ordinary people. The prescription drug is an anesthesia with the nickname ‘milk of amnesia’ for its white, liquid state and its ability to help someone drift off to sleep. Propofol euphoria and its ability to create a sense of relaxation make it susceptible to abuse. The risks of abusing this drug are serious, even fatal, and may include addiction.
What is Propofol?
Also known as Diprivan, Propofol is a general anesthesia used for surgery. It can be used to put a person into a semi-coma for surgery. When used in this way the patient becomes unconscious in under a minute and remains out for just a few minutes. The drug must be given intravenously to keep a person under for the duration of a surgery. Smaller doses of Propofol can also be used to put a patient into a state of conscious sedation for outpatient procedures. This means the patient is sedated, but doesn’t lose consciousness.
Is Propofol a Controlled Substance?
Propofol is not currently a controlled substance, but the Drug Enforcement Administration has proposed that it be added to the list as a schedule IV substance. It hasn’t yet been added to the schedule because experts continue to debate whether it is addictive or not. It might not seem like an anesthesia, something that renders patients unconscious, would be susceptible to abuse, but people do abuse it.
Perhaps the most vulnerable population for Propofol abuse is the group of people who make use of it every day: anesthesiologists. Those who administer the drug are abusing it more than ever before. Although Propofol can knock you out, small doses are reported to make the user feel euphoric, drunk or high. There is also a sense of relaxation that people find pleasant and the ability to induce sleep. For these reasons, people do abuse Propofol.
What are the Risks of Abusing Propofol?
As with any drug, abusing Propofol carries some serious risks. One serious risk is the possibility of having an accident. Because the drug makes the user sleepy or even unconscious, trying to do anything while under the influence is extremely dangerous. Driving a car, operating equipment or just trying to walk downstairs can result in an accident. Propofol is particularly dangerous in this way because its sedative effects set in so quickly.
Propofol addiction is also a possible risk when someone abuses the drug. Although debate continues as to whether it is truly addictive, many people have become dependent on it and have sought treatment. They report experiencing Propfol withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using. Finally, the biggest risk of abusing Propofol is the possibility of a fatality. It is easy to overdose on Propofol, even for anesthesiologists who understand dosing.
Abusing any drug is risky and serious, but Propofol has a higher overdose rate than many other prescription drugs. It also causes more accidents than other substances of abuse. If you or someone you know has abused this drug, it’s time to reconsider your habit. If you feel you can’t stop using, seek professional help.