A new report discovered by the Minneapolis Star Tribune suggests pills taken from Prince’s Paisley Park estate marked as hydrocodone actually contained the powerful opioid fentanyl.
The outlet says that the level of fentanyl found in the enigmatic singer’s system would have killed anyone who consumed it. Prince, 57, was found dead in his elevator on April 21 and only weighed 112 pounds.
According to Drugs.com, Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is normally injected into a muscle, or into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will oftentimes give a patient this injection as part of the anesthesia given for surgery or medical procedure (yes, it’s that strong).
Breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs are traditionally monitored closely while a patient is receiving fentanyl.
Authorities are looking into the theory that Prince was unaware of the toxicity of the pills at the time of death.
Illicit fentanyl has traditionally been mixed with or sold as heroin — as was the case in a series of overdose deaths in north-central Minnesota and North Dakota earlier this year. But the Drug Enforcement Administration said drug traffickers have since expanded the illicit fentanyl market by producing counterfeit pills that contain the opioid.
Investigators ruled his death an accidental overdose, but the recent finding are raising more questions about how he really died. Despite the finding, investigators are leaning toward the theory that he took the pills not knowing they contained the drug.
An autopsy report released in June by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office said Prince died from an accidental, self-administered overdose of fentanyl. But it did not indicate how he obtained the medication, nor did it list any other cause of death or “significant condition.”
Prince’s death sparked a national conversation surrounding prescription pill addiction and even led legendary singer Chaka Khan to also check her self into rehab for prescription drug addiction.
Minnesota and North Dakota has seen a slew of deaths relating to the drug earlier this year, The Tribune reports.
And interestingly enough, Prince death and the investigation surrounding it is occurring at the same time the U.S….