The singer Prince died of an opioid overdose, a US law enforcement official has told the Associated Press news agency on May 2, 2016.
The official, who is close to the investigation, said this was established by tests after the singer’s death on 21 April.
Opioids are prescribed to treat acute pain. With prolonged use, pain-relieving effects lessen and pain can become worse. In addition, the body can develop dependence. Opioid dependence causes withdrawal symptoms, which makes it difficult to stop taking them. Addiction occurs when dependence interferes with daily life.
A report from Minneapolis Star Tribune cited sources, detailed how those around Prince tried to get him help, but ultimately, those efforts failed. For example, Prince’s staff reached out to a physician to help treat him for an addiction to prescription pain mediation, the newspaper reported.
On April 15, on his way back to his Minnesota home following a concert in Atlanta, Prince’s plane made an emergency stop in Illinois. The singer was found unconscious and given a drug used to combat suspected opioid overdoses. Detectives have also questioned a doctor who saw Prince twice in the weeks before he died.
Prince had spoken about struggling with childhood epilepsy, and friends said he had hip trouble. His former percussionist, Sheila E., told The Associated Press that Prince suffered the effects from years of jumping off risers and speakers on stage while wearing high heels.
Under current federal regulations, doctors can treat only 30 patients at a time in the first year they’re certified to prescribe buprenorphine (commonly sold in the U.S. as Suboxone), a medication that can reduce opioid cravings and ward off harsh withdrawal symptoms. Doctors can receive authorization to treat as many as 100 patients in subsequent years. Access to the medication can be especially difficult in rural counties. Addicts may have to drive hundreds of miles to find a doctor who can prescribe them the life-saving medication.
No matter, what the cause of death, Prince was and forever will be missed.