Confirmed: Prince Died from an Accidental Fentanyl Overdose
A Midwest medical examiner has revealed in a report released on Thursday that music legend Prince died as a result of an accidental overdose of Fentanyl, an opioid painkiller.
Prince, 57, was found dead on April 21 inside the elevator of his Paisley Park residence in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Since then, there have been many unconfirmed reports about the singer’s likely cause of death, his alleged history of drug and prescription pill abuse and the people who might be responsible for enabling his alleged habit.
Thursday’s announcement that he died from “Fentanyl Toxicity” brings an end to the speculation, especially the rumor that the superstar was addicted to another opioid painkiller Percocet. However, the confirmation on the cause of death has not brought an end to the police investigation. There is now a question of whether the singer obtained the Fentanyl prescription legally and if not, then who were his suppliers.
One instance of the alleged abuse was in the report by celebrity gossip site TMZ, which claimed that Prince’s plane had to make an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois on his way home from a concert in Atlanta. Apparently, Prince had overdosed on a drug and needed Narcan to revive him. He was then released after treatment in a hospital.
Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg, a family practitioner, was also caught up in the controversy since it was discovered that he visited Prince twice – on April 7 and 20. The doctor is said to have prescribed some medication to the late musician and a search warrant failed to show which drugs were prescribed, as reported by ABC News.
More controversy followed after another doctor, Dr. Howard Kornfeld, a California addiction specialist, sent his son Andrew to visit Prince. Andrew turned out to be one of the people who discovered the dead artist’s body in the elevator.
These issues bring about many unanswered questions that will require more investigations.
According to ABC News, Kent Bailey, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Minneapolis, said the agency will continue their investigations alongside Carver County authorities and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Carver County Chief Deputy Jason Kamerud told the Minnesota Star Tribune on Thursday that he has does not know how long the investigation will take to complete. He added that the medical examiner’s report is just “a piece of the puzzle” in the investigation.
Brief Details about the Drug Fentanyl
Fentanyl is a very potent opioid prescription pill that is considered to be about 50 times stronger than heroin and about 100 times stronger than morphine. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says the drug is used to treat chronic pain especially in patients who have become resistant to other opioid treatment.
Unfortunately, substance abusers use the drug to get high, while others mix it with narcotic drugs such as heroin and cocaine to make them more potent.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there were 35 Fentanyl-related deaths in Minnesota last year. That figure is higher in other regions in America but is nonetheless a worrying trend.
Dr. Anne Pylkas, a HealthPartners addiction medicine specialist, explained to the Minnesota Star Tribune that Fentanyl’s potency makes it “easier to overdose on” than other opioid painkillers. That is probably why the medical examiner termed Prince’s death as “self-administered” and “accidental”.
The medical examiner’s office has said that the full autopsy and toxicology reports on Prince’s death will not be released.