Korean actor Yoo Ah-in, whose real name is Uhm Hong-sik, was administered propofol 73 times in 2021, police said, quoting data submitted by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
Propofol prescribed to Yoo between January and December 2021 exceeded 4.4 liters in total. The intravenous anesthetic agent was used six times a month, far more frequent than the advised usage of the drug for simple procedures and diagnoses which is once a month, according to investigators and local reports.
The record was added in the search and seizure warrant over Yoo's alleged illegal drug use, they added.
Propofol is a powerful sleep-inducing drug commonly used in surgeries. It is illegal in South Korea to use the drug for any other purpose than surgeries and less invasive procedures such as endoscopies.
The 37-year-old actor has been under police investigation after a Drug Ministry report alleged that he had purchased propofol for purposes other than medical treatments since 2021. The ministry requested that the police investigate a list of people suspected of illegal drug use based on its own Narcotics Information Management System, which displays information about the medical facilities that prescribe much higher doses than the average and those who are administered such doses.
Earlier this month, police sent Yoo's hair and urine samples to the National Forensic Services for tests after questioning. The urine sample came back positive for propofol as well as marijuana, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said. Recreational use of marijuana is also illegal in South Korea, and first-time offenders can be sentenced up to five years in prison or 50 million won ($38,000) in fines.
Meanwhile, local news outlet MBC reported Saturday afternoon that the actor's hair test, conducted by the National Forensic Service, came back positive for a constituent of another drug in addition to propofol and marijuana. Police did not confirm the information. Meanwhile, the actor's agency UAA told the media it was unaware of the fresh allegations.
Since his debut in 2004, Yoo has starred in various popular movies and TV series, such as the action film "Veteran" (2015), the historical drama film "The Throne" (2015), the mystery film "Burning" (2018), the crime film "Voice of Silence" (2020), and the Netflix series "Hellbound" (2021). He has also won many acting awards in Korea for his TV and film roles.