It’s been almost one year since the shocking death of iconic pop singer Prince, and today, new court documents have revealed more information into the circumstances surrounding it. The singer was found dead in an elevator at his Minnesota compound at the age of 57 due to an accidental overdose of fentanyl, People Magazine reported. According to the autopsy, the overdose was self-administered.
In the months after his death, it was uncertain as to who gave him the prescription medication that caused his overdose, but now new shocking details have been released that could start to paint a clearer picture.
It has been revealed that Prince’s doctor, Michael Schulenberg, prescribed him the medication under a friend’s name. The prescription was written for his bodyguard Kirk Johnson to seemingly preserve the singer’s identity, People claims.
— People Magazine (@people) April 17, 2017
Furthermore, Us Weekly reports that several prescription pills were hidden throughout Prince’s estate in a search warrant that was conducted on the day he died. The pills that were found in various bottles throughout the home were labeled “Watson 853” (hydrocodone-amphetamine), and some were even stashed in vitamin containers, Rolling Stone claims. Some of the drugs were counterfeit, the Guardian reports. Of these, at least one contained traces of fentanyl.
According to NBC News, controlled substances were also found in a suitcase bearing the pop star’s often-used alias, “Peter Bravestrong,” next to handwritten lyrics for “U Got the Look.” The warrant also allowed searches through emails and cell phone records. However, he did not own a cell phone at the time of his death, and the email search did not yield any results at this time.
While many of the prescription drugs can be traced back to Prince’s doctor, the source of the fentanyl is unknown and an investigation is still ongoing, authorities say.
Prior Drug Use
It has become clear that in the years leading up to Prince’s fatal overdose, he was struggling with addiction. Just a week prior, his flight needed to make an emergency landing in Illinois due to a medical emergency on board. Here, he was treated with Naloxone (a drug used to reverse the affects of an opioid overdose).
Johnson says that he was unaware of Prince’s addiction issues, and Dr. Schulenberg claims that he only saw Prince two times in the month before his death. One of those times was the day before the aforementioned flight, and the other was the day before he was found dead in his home.
Allegedly, Prince was known by close friends to go through rough withdrawal periods, signaling that he was, in fact, struggling with an addiction, the Us Weekly report finds. In fact, the same search warrant that found the prescription drugs also found a pamphlet for a California-based addiction treatment program, suggesting that the singer was planning on entering treatment in the near future. He was even scheduled to meet with an opioid addiction specialist the day after he died. Last year, Sky Dangcil (who frequently collaborated with the star) claimed the singer began using the medication after a severe hip injury, which quickly spiraled into an addiction.
The eight-time Grammy award winner is definitely not the only one struggling with an addiction to fentanyl.
Often prescribed by doctors for severe pain, experts say fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin, and up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Often times, counterfeit prescription drugs are laced with fentanyl, unbeknownst to the user, causing an epidemic in the U.S. and Canada. Both nations have seen drastic spikes in overdoses due to the drug, most notably Vancouver, which saw an increase of 80 percent in 2016. There was a total of 922 deaths in the Canadian province of British Columbia, 142 of which came in the month of December alone.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]