Officials Are Investigating Prince's Death

Law enforcement officials are formally investigating the role of prescription painkillers in Prince's death, the Associated Press reports.


Rumors about the cause of death surfaced shortly after the 57-year-old musician passed last week, but medical examiners stressed that it could take weeks before autopsy results were released.

Prince was reportedly prescribed Percocet, an opioid-based painkiller, after a corrective hip surgery in 2010. Officials discovered painkillers on Prince and at his home in Minnesota, CNN reports, and they've asked the Drug Enforcement Administration to help determine whether he continued to receive prescriptions for the drug.

Sources confirmed details about Prince's medical history, which were first reported by TMZ.


A source close to the investigation told the Associated Press that Prince was given an emergency shot of a life-saving overdose medication, Narcan, about a week before his death. That said, Narcan "can be used on people even if an overdose isn't confirmed because it wouldn't necessarily be harmful," according to the Associated Press.

For now, there is no evidence that Prince possessed a valid prescription at the time of his death. Opioid-based pain medication is highly addictive and more effective as a short-term treatment option, so it would be unusual (though not unheard of) for doctors to authorize refills for more than five years after the surgery.

What it would mean if Prince's reported painkiller overdose prove true.


If either the investigation or autopsy confirm that Prince fatally overdosed on painkillers that he was legally prescribed, he would be one of nearly 19,000 Americans who die from opioid-based medication each year, as ATTN: previously reported. One in four adults who are prescribed painkillers for conditions other than cancer struggle with addiction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

"There are plenty of people out there who get legitimate pain pills for legitimate pain concerns and they do well," CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. "They come off of them with no problem, but there's a certain percentage of people who do become addicted to these, meaning they have to keep taking them."

RELATED: Prince's Reported Painkiller Uses Call Attention to the Opioid Crisis