Actress questioned over alleged propofol abuse

SEOUL - Prosecutors summoned a TV actress Wednesday on suspicion of misusing propofol, a short-acting sedative and anesthetic.

The actress is suspected of receiving propofol injections for non-medical purposes at dermatologists and cosmetic surgery clinics in southern Seoul, according to the Seoul District Prosecutors' Office.

The drug is blamed for the death of pop legend Michael Jackson. It is commonly dubbed "the milk injection" due to its colour.

Propofol is used as an anesthetic for cosmetic surgeries, but cases of abuse have been rising in Korea during the past several years.

Officials said that the actress visited numerous hospitals and received minor procedures to get the injection.

During the questioning, she reportedly insisted that the injections were for medical purposes.

In a crackdown that took place in December 2012 on seven hospitals in the affluent southern Seoul area, prosecutors seized incriminating evidence against the actress as well as two to three additional female celebrities.

A list of propofol injection recipients and medical supply records were scrutinized and the hospital staff was questioned as witnesses. During this time, the prosecution obtained the statement that "Actresses J and A frequently visited the hospital and received propofol injections without undergoing any cosmetic procedure."

The increase of propofol abuse has spurred the Ministry of Health and Welfare to monitor drugs more closely using RFID tags.

The National Forensic Service also devised a method of identifying lingering traces of propofol in a person's hair, thereby more accurately tacking down abusers of the drug.