After much speculation, what killed Prince is no longer a mystery. According to a medical examiner, the legendary singer died from an accidental overdose of the opioid fentanyl. The report showed that Prince self-administered the fentanyl, and died from its toxicity.
However what’s still a mystery is how Prince got fentanyl, the most potent painkiller on the market. Was it prescribed by a doctor? Was it a legal prescription? Did he get it from someone else?
The agencies made it clear that federal prosecutors and the Drug Enforcement Administration are seeking answers to those questions.
Authorities said an investigation into Prince’s death is ongoing and if the medication turns out to be illegally obtained, it will change into a criminal investigation.
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office report highlighted the fatal role fentanyl played in the singer’s death. Prince Rogers Nelson died in April at age 57 after he was found unresponsive in an elevator at his home and recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
The medical examiner’s report did not provide much detail on Prince’s death. Under “how injury occurred,” the report said “the decedent self-administered fentanyl.” For manner of death, a box was marked for “accident.”
However the report did not specify how the drug was taken and whether the fentanyl was prescribed or illegally made. Doctors prescribe fentanyl for cancer treatment but it can also be illegally made and sold on the streets for an easy high.
An illicit version of the drug is flooding into communities nationwide, with the Drug Enforcement Administration describing it as a health crisis. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration the drug is 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
No autopsy results
The report said the music superstar was 5.25 feet and weighed 112 pounds when he died. In regards to the full autopsy report, the medical examiner’s office said full autopsy and toxicology reports will not be released.
Alleged abuse of drugs
Since his death, information has emerged about the entertainer’s alleged abuse of prescription drugs.
Prince saw a doctor a day before he died and a few weeks prior to that, leading to more unanswered questions. Investigators have not found any indication he had a valid prescription for any recovered opioid medications.
A law enforcement source told CNN’s Evan Perez in April, the entertainer was found with opioid medication at the time of his death. According to CNN the family attorney, Prince’s half-siblings confirmed the singer had an addiction to Percocet — another opioid — decades before he died.
One said Prince started using the drug to help him deal with the rigors of performing, not for recreational use.
There appears to have been another incident even before his accidental overdose on April 21. On his way home after performing in Atlanta on April 15, Prince’s plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois where he was taken to a hospital.
A law enforcement official told CNN he was treated for a potential overdose of pain medication. According to an attorney for the specialist and his son, the day before he died, his team called an opioid addiction specialist in California, seeking help for the singer.
The specialist, Dr. Howard Kornfeld, couldn’t get there immediately so he sent his son, Andrew Kornfeld, on an overnight flight to Minnesota. Attorney William Mauzy said the goal was for the son to help evaluate Prince’s health and encourage him to enter treatment for pain management and potential addiction issues.
However by the time Andrew Kornfeld arrived at the singer’s complex on the morning of April 21, it was too late. Prince was found unresponsive in an elevator and according to his attorney Andrew Kornfeld was the one who called 911.
It’s unclear whether Andrew Kornfeld is the subject of a separate investigation.
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