Toxicology results prove Prince died from an accidental overdose of the opioid fentanyl, according to a report on his death by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office.
Fetanyl is an opioid prescribed by doctors for the treatment of cancer. 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. It is one of many opioids responsible for the large increase of opioid overdose deaths in the United States and is often made illicitly.
Prince died April 21 at the age of 57, after being found unresponsive in an elevator at his home in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Parademics arrived on the scene and performed CPR, but were unable to revive him.
The Details of the Medical Examiner’s Office Report
The report offers few details on his death. It shows the cause of death as “self-administered fetanyl” and a box is checked for “accident” underneath the autopsy section. For the cause of death on the report, it says “Fetanyl toxicity.” No details were provided on exactly how Prince obtained the drug, whether it was made illegally or issued via prescription.
What the report did show, however, were some details of Prince’s appearance at the time of his death. He was labeled as “petite” with a weight of only about 112 pounds and a height of 63 inches. He was wearing a black cap, black shirt, grey undershirt, black pants, black boxer briefs, and black socks. Prince also had scar on his left hip and another scar on his right lower leg.
The office will not release the full autopsy and toxicology reports, according to CNN.
Here is also the tweet that the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office sent out about the investigation results on their official Twitter account.
Prince Rogers Nelson investigation results attached pic.twitter.com/CMt6lQSGxJ
— Midwest Medical Exam (@MidwestMedExam) June 2, 2016
Prince’s History of Opioid Drug Abuse
After Prince’s death, multiple reports surfaced about the singer’s alleged abuse of opioid prescription drugs. One of the first reports was that a law enforcement source said investigators found opioid medication with Prince’s body. According to a CNN article, an attorney for the star’s two dead siblings, said the siblings revealed Prince had an addiction to Percocet for decades before his death. The attorney, Michael B. Padden, says Prince’s half-brother, Duane Nelson, used to get the drug to help Prince calm down after his shows. Nelson also said Prince used the drug to deal with the rigors of performing. Another half-sibling, Lorna Nelson, confirmed the report. CNN could not independently confirm Padden’s report since both siblings are now deceased.
There are also reports from TMZ and Daily Mail that Prince allegedly received a Narcan “save shot” during an emergency hospital visit six days before his death because he allegedly overdosed on Percocet. The singer postponed two of his shows in Atlanta during this time on April 7 because his staffers said was “battling the flu” and “was severely hydrated.”
Authorities are now investigating whether or not Prince received appropriate care as well as how the singer obtained the prescription painkillers.
Prince Sought Help from an Addiction Doctor On the Day He Died
Prince sought the help of a prominent addiction doctor on the day he died to help with an opioid prescription painkiller addiction, according to multiple reports.
Prince’s attorney William Mauzy said the singer’s team reached out to Howard Kornfeld, a prominent California doctor who specializes in treating addiction, to arrange an urgent meeting. He couldn’t leave right away so he sent his son Andrew on a flight that night.
By the time Andrew arrived to Prince’s Paisley Park studio complex in Minnesota on the morning of April 21, it was too late. He and two other staffers found Prince unresponsive in an elevator at his home. Shortly after their discovery, the singer was pronounced dead.
It was Andrew who placed the 911 call reporting Prince as unresponsive, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Opioid Overdose: A Widespread Epidemic Among Americans
Prince is just one of many celebrities who have battled opioid addiction. ABC News reports Nicole Richie, Winona Ryder, Matthew Perry, Jamie Lee Curtis, Eminem, Charlie Sheen, Michael Jackson, and Anna Nicole Smith all faced struggles with painkillers.
Along with becoming an issue for many celebrities, opioid prescription painkiller addiction has also become one of the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 21.5 million Americans age 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2014, about 1.9 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription painkillers and 586,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.
Avoid Overdose by Getting Help for Your Opioid Addiction
If you or a loved one has a opioid addiction, there is help. There are several addiction treatment options that can be of assistance. Visit our Addiction Resources page for a list of services. You can also call our free and confidential addiction helpline at 1-800-259-1361.