Is Prince the Latest Celebrity to Die From Prescription Drug Overdose?

Although an official autopsy report is not expected for several weeks, some additional information has become available that suggests that music icon Prince may have died from an overdose of prescription drugs.

According to the Chicago Tribune, investigators are looking into whether a doctor had been prescribing Prince drugs, and whether or not a doctor was on the plane that made a medical emergency landing in Moline, Illinois the week before his death.

An unidentified law enforcement official (who spoke on condition of anonymity) told The Associated Press that it is believed that Prince overdosed on the plane and that first responders gave him a shot of Narcan, a drug used to reverse opioid overdose. He was taken to a local emergency room, but left after a few hours.

Another law enforcement agent told AP that prescription drugs were discovered at Prince’s home when he was found dead.

Additional reports have surfaced that Prince may have used prescription pain killers such as Percocet to deal with chronic pain in his hips, caused by years of performing.

Michael Padden, an attorney in Lake Elmo, Minn., who previously represented Prince’s deceased half-brother Duane Nelson and his sister Lorna Nelson  told reporters yesterday that both had told him over a period of years (beginning in about 2001) that Prince was using both cocaine and Percocet.

“They told me that he was addicted to cocaine and Percocet,” Mr. Padden said. “My knowledge, frankly, is limited to what his brother and sister told me.”

Confirmation of these speculations will only be possibly after the full autopsy report (with toxicology) is released several weeks from now by the Carver County Medical Examiner.

If confirmed, Prince will be added to a long list of celebrities who have met with similar fates.

This flip book and infographic comes courtesy of Laura Chapman* and The Coalition of Drug Abuse.


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*Laura Chapman worked in health and nutrition after finishing college, but took a step back to spend more time with her family and becoming a mother, so now divides her time between freelance writing and teaching privately.”

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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