Internationally renowned entertainer Prince Nelson Rogers died a year ago last week. Surrounding the anniversary of his death came some news that may shed some light on how the performer suffered before he died.
Prince died of a fentanyl overdose on April 21 of last year. Although an overdose isn't automatically suspicious, law enforcement decided to look very carefully into the 57 year-old's death in order to discover how he came to use fentanyl, an unusually strong opioid medication. Although that investigation isn't over, some of the results have now been released.
Of primary interest is the news that a family physician visited Prince twice last April and on one occasion wrote a prescription for oxycodone meant for Prince. However, "for Prince's privacy," he made that prescription out in the name of another man, Prince's friend and bodyguard. This practice isn't uncommon but it is illegal.
Could the doctor be charged with a prescription drug violation?
According to a local attorney not associated with the case, he could but probably won't be. This is because the prescription was for oxycodone, not fentanyl, and the investigators are primarily interested in the source of the fentanyl.
"The oxycodone in this case is only tangential to the whole case," he said. "If this was a fentanyl script, oh boy, it would be a totally different situation. ... The real meat and potatoes is going to be that fentanyl thing."
An associate at Prince's production company Paisley Park Enterprises earlier told investigators that Prince had been "going through withdrawals, which are believed to be the result of the abuse of prescription medication."
When patients are prescribed opioid medications like oxycodone, they can build up a tolerance and need more of the drug to get the same effect. At Prince's home, in addition to numerous bottles of pills, investigators found a pamphlet for a California addiction recovery center.