by Hanna Rosin

Several of you wrote to chastise me for suggesting that it seemed excessive to charge Michael Jackson's doctor for the singer's OD. Here is one particularly good response from a reader:

Propofol, the anesthetic that apparently killed Jackson, is definitely not like a street drug, and not even particularly similar to commonly abused prescription drugs like Oxycontin or Adderol. Propofol has an extraordinarily small dosage window, meaning that dosage needs to be carefully controlled by a doctor. This is why it is almost never allowed out of hospitals and doctors offices, and why its abuse is generally limited to those with direct access (for a good, accessible article on the subject, try this article from Anesthesiology Today. The fact that any doctor could allow the use of this drug outside of an operating room is appalling.

Point taken. The Washington Post quotes John Dombrowski, director of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, on the subject of using Propofol as a sleeping aid: "That'd be like me taking chemotherapy because I'm tired of shaving my head."

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