LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An addiction specialist testified Tuesday Michael Jackson suffered from a “severe addiction” to pain medication and was secretive about his use of prescription drugs.
Dr. Petros Levounis, a psychiatrist and addiction specialist, testified the singer shopped for doctors to obtain the prescription painkillers and his doctors did not maintain proper boundaries.
“Michael Jackson’s addiction was quite extensive,” Dr. Levounis testified. “I have very little doubt within a medical certainty that his pleasure reward pathways had been hijacked.”
Levounis testified one of the sources he used to arrive at his conclusions was the singer himself, who acknowledged his abuse of pain medication in a 1993 video recording released to fans after cancelling the remaining dates of the “Dangerous” tour and entering a rehabilitation program in London.
“He did suffer from severe addiction,” Dr. Levounis testified.
Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, is suing concert giant AEG Live for negligence. The matriarch claims executives hired, retained or supervised Murray while the singer was preparing for the ill-fated ‘This Is It’ comeback tour.
The firm insists Murray was hired only at Jackson’s request.
Attorneys for AEG Live called Dr. Levounis to support their contention that Jackson was a secretive addict and it was impossible for them to know what took place in the singer’s home when he was alone with Dr. Conrad Murray.
Last week, the jury heard testimony from two doctors who detailed interactions with the singer involving the use of the powerful anesthetic propofol. Dr. Stephen Gordon testified the singer was unusually familiar with the anesthetic, which his office used for general anesthesia.
“He gave me the impression he was used to telling doctors what he wanted them to do,” Gordon testified. Jackson died in 2009 from an overdose of propofol administered by Conrad Murray.
Jackson family attorneys agree the singer was addicted to pain medication, but charge that AEG Live knew of his addiction and should have better supervised Jackson’s medical care.