Michael Jackson's family were so worried about his alleged drug abuse they wanted to have him committed to a rehab clinic and employed a 'sober coach' to accompany him on tour.
Michael Jackson's family employed a 'sober coach' to accompany him on tour.
Those closest to the 'Thriller' star - who passed away last Thursday (25.06.09) after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest - were reportedly so worried about his use of prescription drugs they considered having him forcibly committed to a rehabilitation clinic just two weeks ago.
A source said: "No one in the family had realised how serious Michael's problems were until Randy, his youngest brother, started staying over at Michael's house. He quickly realised that the situation was grave and that Michael needed urgent medical help or he might die.
"Michael was adamant he did not have a drug problem and was not going to rehab. But in the end he relented to his family's wishes and agreed to having a sober companion."
Under Californian law, a person can be forcibly admitted into a detox facility under the recommendation of two psychiatrists, who must convince a judge they are a danger to themselves or others.
However, the source said: "It's an extremely difficult and lengthy process. When this was explained to the family, it was clearly not an option for Michael.
"Randy said they needed to save Michael from himself. His drug use was so severe, yet Michael was in total denial about how bad it was.
"He was having injections of the painkiller Demerol first thing in the morning and last thing at night, along with a host of other powerful drugs. He was refusing to eat and was popping pills constantly."
Because of Michael's resistance to rehab and his determination to honour touring commitments, his family set up a compromise where the 'Beat It' star agreed to consult Californian drugs expert Dr. Howard Samuels - known as Doc Hollywood - who runs Hollywood's Wonderland clinic.
It was agreed the 50-year-old star would detox at home under medical supervision and then be provided with the 'sober coach' - a trained professional who accompanies a patient full-time to ensure they stay off drugs by administering random drug tests and liaising with psychiatrists and other doctors - for the duration of his London residency, which was due to begin next month.
The source added to Britain's Mail On Sunday newspaper: "The Jackson family were recommended to call Wonderland as Dr. Samuels is very experienced at dealing with high-profile celebrities.
"The treatment was due to start this weekend. 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. That was the plan."