Following the conviction of singer-actress Amy for recreational abuse of Propofol — the drug that killed Michael Jackson — four other top celebrities are being questioned by prosecutors in Seoul as part of a widening investigation.
Amy was given a two year suspended sentence for illegal use of the drug in November at Chuncheon District Court in Gangwon Province. She told reporters after the court ruling that the drug is commonly used among celebrities for beauty purposes.
Questioned this week by Seoul Central District Court prosecutors was film actress Park Si-yeon, soon to make her Hollywood debut. She is under suspicion of using the drug recreationally. Propofol is a sedative that should only be administered in hospitals. It is informally referred to as "milk of amnesia" due to its cloudy appearance.
"Non-medical use of the drug outside of a hospital is illegal here," a Ministry of Health and Welfare official, who refused to be named, told The Korea Times.
"Since the drug is a prescription only medication, raising public awareness of Propofol's perils is important to prevent abuse."
Popular television emcees Hyun Young and Lee Seung-yeon and actress Jang Mi In-ae were also questioned by the authorities over similar allegations last month.
The celebrities deny any wrong doing, claiming they have been using the drug for medical purposes under proper authorization.
"It (the drug) was used in her medical treatment," Park's agency EYAGI Entertainment said, "Park's back was injured during the filming the action scenes for the movies, Marine Boy and Dachimawa Lee, in 2008." It added that they didn't disclose Park's injury and subsequent back surgery at the time to "protect her image."
Koenstars, Hyun's agency said, "Hyun Young used the drug after consulting a doctor on prescription. Since she found out that she was pregnant in 2011, she has never visited a hospital if not for a medical purpose."
However, investigators aren't convinced and are trying to confirm whether the female stars used the drugs in places other than medical clinics, according to prosecution sources.
A powerful anesthetic, Propofol is known to have dangerous consequences if used inappropriately. Possible side effects include low blood pressure, pain on injection and seizures.
Rumors are rampant that many female singers and actresses use Propofol, also known as Diprivan for the purposes of relieving stress or getting to sleep.