- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 4, 2009

Free tickets to Michael Jackson’s memorial service were made available Friday as reports surfaced that the powerful sedative Diprivan was found in the Los Angeles home where the pop star was living.

The drug, also known as Propofol, is used as an anesthetic in operating rooms and administered intravenously. Its presence in a private home would be “completely unusual,” said Dr. Kristine Henderson, an anesthesiologist with North Florida Anesthesia Consultants.

“It can only be given intravenously, and it can only be given by someone with anesthesiologist credentials, either a doctor or a nurse,” Dr. Henderson said. “It’s not meant for insomnia at all.”

A nurse, Cherilyn Lee, has said that Mr. Jackson told her he suffered from insomnia and had begged her to administer Diprivan to help him sleep. She said she refused.

The Associated Press reported that a law enforcement official confirmed the presence of Diprivan at the Jackson home but did so on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jackson’s publicist and family announced that the singer’s memorial service would be held Tuesday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Those interested in attending were advised to register at www.staplescenter.com.

Organizers said they would randomly select 8,750 names to receive two tickets each. The Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, has a capacity of 20,000.

The company that owns and operates the Staples Center, AEG, is producing the event. AEG also had been organizing Mr. Jackson’s comeback concerts at the time of his death.

There will be no funeral procession, but the city planned to increase its police presence and crowd control efforts for the event. One city councilwoman, Jan Parry, said at a Friday press conference that “you might want to consider watching this from the comfort of your home.”

The memorial service, which is expected to feature celebrity tributes to Mr. Jackson, will be broadcast by live feed. No details were given Friday about which entertainers would appear at the service.

Mr. Jackson, 50, died June 25 at his rented mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood after going into cardiac arrest. His personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, reportedly was with him and attempted to revive the singer using CPR.

Investigators are looking into whether prescription drugs played a role in Mr. Jackson’s death, and a toxicology report is expected within four to six weeks.

The singer had been rehearsing for an international comeback tour.