Actor Yoo Ah-in says drugs were for medical purposes in second hearing

Actor Yoo Ah-in enters the Seoul Central District Court in Seocho District, southern Seoul, on Tuesday for his second court hearing on his alleged illegal drug use. [YONHAP]

Actor Yoo Ah-in, who was charged with alleged illegal drug use, claimed during his second hearing on Tuesday that he used the drugs for medical purposes.

The second hearing for Yoo, 38, whose real name is Uhm Hong-sik, took place at the Seoul Central District Court over charges of using illegal drugs, inviting someone to smoke marijuana with him, and tampering with evidence.

“Living the life of a celebrity and being in the public eye, Yoo has been suffering from depression, panic disorder and sleeping disorders for a long time,” Yoo’s attorney said at the second hearing. “Yoo went through various medical procedures, which resulted in a high dependency on sleep-inducing anesthesia. The actor owns up to the fact that he used drugs during the medical procedure and deeply regrets his actions.”

“However, the anesthesia was prescribed along with the procedures. Anesthesia alone was never prescribed,” the attorney added. “The type of anesthesia to be used was selected under professional supervision by the doctor.”

Yoo denied the allegation that he invited someone else to smoke marijuana with him to make them an accomplice, though he admitted to having used marijuana himself.

He also admitted that he got the prescription medication Stilnox, a type of sleeping pill, using his family member’s name.

“However, such an action does not fall under violating the Narcotics Control Act and should be treated as an exceptional case, as a prescription was given to the pharmacist to receive the prescribed drugs,” the attorney said.

“Yoo deeply apologizes for disappointing and hurting those who have stayed by his side in support.”

Reports say that Yoo did not add anything to his attorney’s statements while attending the hearing.

The actor was indicted without detention on Oct. 19 for illegal drug use and illegally acquiring prescriptions for various drugs, including sedatives like propofol, midazolam, ketamine, remimazolam and the sleep-inducing pill zolpidem.

He was also accused of coercing a Youtuber to partake in smoking marijuana after being spotted smoking the substance, and illegally using another person's ID to receive a prescription drug.

Yoo’s first hearing was held on Dec. 12, which was originally scheduled to be on Nov. 14 but was postponed upon Yoo’s request. He admitted to smoking marijuana but denied most other allegations during the first hearing as well.