Michael Jackson's Family Tried to Force Him Into Rehab
In an effort that could possibly have saved Michael Jackson's life if it had succeeded, the singer's family attempted to force him into a rehab stay just two weeks before his death last Thursday at the age of 50.
The Daily Mail reports that family members concocted a plan to get a judge and psychiatrists to deem Jackson—who's rumored to have died after overdosing on the pain killer Demerol—a danger to himself and others, thus compelling a stay in rehab.
The plan was abandoned due to Jackson's resistance and the pressure to fulfill his upcoming 50-date string of concerts at London's O2 arena.
Jackson did agree, however, to enlist the services of Dr. Howard Samuels, a drug expert known as "Doc Hollywood" for his work with A-list stars. (Samuels is executive director of the Wonderland Center, which has treated such troubled celebrities as Lindsay Lohan.)
"The Jackson family were recommended to call Wonderland as Dr. Samuels is very experienced at dealing with high-profile celebrities," a source says. "Many celebrities do not want to go into a conventional treatment center because it takes them away from their professional commitments, causes negative press and means they have to mix with ordinary junkies and, of course, they don't like to think of themselves in that way."
Samuels would have helped Jackson detox at home, after which a "sober coach" would have accompanied Jackson on his London dates to help him stay on the straight and narrow.
"Michael was adamant he did not have a drug problem and was not going to rehab," says a source. "But in the end he relented to his family's wishes and agreed to having a sober companion."
Unfortunately, fate got in the way of that plan.
"The treatment was due to start this weekend, says the source. "When someone is in as bad a state of dependence as Michael was you cannot detox them suddenly. The plan was to gradually start weaning him off the drugs this coming week. He would have had a team of doctors and nurses on call to deal with withdrawal symptoms."
In the wake of Jackson's death last week, it was reported that the family had tried to stage an intervention for Jackson in 2002, but failed because of the singer's protests.