celebrities-propofol abuse

SEOUL, March 13 (Yonhap) -- Four female celebrities, including top TV actress Park Si-yeon, have been indicted on charges of illegally taking the psychotropic drug propofol, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The celebrities allegedly took the prescription drug for reasons other than its intended purpose up to 100 times at several plastic surgery and dermatology hospitals in the Gangnam district in Seoul, they said.

Park and two others -- Jang Mi-inae and Lee Seung-yeun -- will stand trial without physical detention for allegedly receiving unnecessary treatments at hospitals to get the drug, which is commonly used during routine surgeries, they added.

Another actress, Hyun Young, has been summarily indicted for the same charge, they said.

Prosecutors said they have also indicted two doctors practicing in Gangnam on charges of illegally using or administering propofol to patients, including these celebrities.

The probe was prompted after a local obstetrician was arrested in August last year on charges of injecting his girlfriend with propofol, causing her death. The doctor then disposed of her body.

Propofol, a powerful anesthetic commonly used during routine surgeries, was responsible for the death of U.S. pop star Michael Jackson.

Experts say propofol abuse is growing because unlike other hospital sedatives, it is quick-acting and rapidly leaves the system. It is also known as a "milk injection" because the color of the drug resembles milk.

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