Jacksons vs AEG - Day 75 – August 27 2013 – Summary
No Jackson family members are in court today.
(source : ABC7 unless otherwise indicated)
Dr. Petros Levounis Testimony
Dr. Petros Levounis the head of the Psychiatry Department at Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey is testifying. He is an addiction expert.
Michael Jackson suffered a "quite extensive" drug addiction the last 15 years of his life, according to an addiction expert. Jackson's drugs of choice were opioids, painkillers given to him by doctors repairing scalp injuries suffered in a fire and during cosmetic procedures to make him look younger, Levounis testified. (CNN)
He testified the MJ was addicted to Opioids - in particular Demerol from 1993 to his death in 2009. Dr. Levounis said MJ doctor shopped to keep his supply of medications when his doctors expressed concern with the amount he used. MJ was secretive about the amount of medication he was taking and kept that information from his doctors.
Dr Levounis testified the 5 criteria were
1. he show evidence of tolerance for Demerol so he took more.
2.The Doctor also testfied that MJ would take more than the dosage recommended and there was evidence he was renewing prescriptions often.
3. The Doctor testified that MJ was Doctor shopping - that if he couldn't get the medication he wanted he could go to another doctor. MJ tried to cut down on his drug use but relapses. In 1993 goes to rehab in England - evidence of demerol use in 2003 and in 2009.
4. MJ showed evidence of physical and social consequences - he passed out at a meeting and his brother Randy tried many times to intervene.
5. Finally, MJ couldn't stop despite the fact he knew he was damaging his health..the desire was too powerful.
Levouni said addiction happens when a chemical "hijacks the pleasure-reward pathways" in your brain. "You remain addicted for the rest of your life," Levounis testified. "Michael Jackson's addiction was quite extensive and I have very little doubt that his pleasure-reward pathways had been hijacked and he suffered from addiction," he said.(CNN)
The last point Dr. Levounis made is that MJ and several of his Doctors had very close friendships and that was a problem. The close relationships made it easier for MJ to ask for medications and it is harder for the Doctors to say no. (ABC7) "A very close friendship between an addicted patient and a doctor is problematic," Levounis testified. "It makes it much easier for a patient to ask for drugs and it makes it more difficult for a provider to resist." (CNN)
Under Cross examination Dr. Levounis went over the time that he reviewed the materials sent to him for his expert testimony.
Dr. Levounis testified that one of the symptoms is secrecy and yet MJ announced to the world that he had an addiction and sought treatment. (ABC7) "If he announced it to the world it's not very private, is it?" Jackson lawyer Michael Koskoff asked Levounis.
"At that moment, he was not secretive," Levounis replied. (CNN)
The final point under cross was that addiction is no longer used as a term to diagnose because not specific and the negative connotation. Now, people are diagnosed with substance use disorder!