Was Prince an Opioid Addict for 25 Years?

Was Prince an Opioid Addict for 25 Years?

It may be weeks before we can confirm or deny the shocking news, but there's a story flying around the world that the late pop/rock star Prince was dependent on opioid painkillers for 25 years. The story also claims that his untimely death last week at age 57 could well have been caused by an accidental opioid overdose.

That's especially distressing to us here at Novus, because every day of the week we help people from all walks of life get free from opioid dependence and get their lives back.

Prince, full name Prince Rogers Nelson, was an amazingly versatile composer, singer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, and perhaps best known as the star of the quasi-biographical film, Purple Rain. The artist was found unresponsive on the morning of April 21, in an elevator at his $10 million mansion and recording studios in suburban Minneapolis, MN. The explosive story about his possible drug dependence originated from a big-time drug dealer known only as Doctor D.

In an exclusive interview with the UK's Daily Mail Online, the dealer claims that he was Prince's drug supplier from 1984 until 2008. The musician, he said, would spend up to $40,000 at one time for a 6-month supply of prescription drugs such as Dilaudid pills (a brand of hydromorphone) and Fentanyl patches - both highly-addictive and powerful opioid painkillers. Doctor D described Prince as "majorly addicted" with such "crippling stage fright" that he couldn't perform without the aid of his drugs. Doctor D also said that Prince had such a phobia about doctors that he avoided obtaining legal prescriptions. In fact, the drug supplier said, it could well have been a physician that unknowingly contributed to Prince's death, by writing a prescription for strong painkillers for his painful hip condition, without being aware of his secret opiate addiction.

He said he was surprised to hear that Prince was actually picking up a doctor's prescription shortly before he died. Other reports tend to support the dealers claims about opioid dependence or at least over-use. On April 15, just 6 days before his sudden death, Prince's private jet made an emergency landing in Moline, IL, because the musician was near death on the plane and needed to get to a hospital immediately. Information surfaced shortly after that the hospital's emergency medical team injected the musician with Narcan (naloxone), an opioid-overdose-reversal drug that saved the singer's life. And Narcan is only used for to reverse the effects of opioids.

The story is that Prince had overdosed on the painkiller Percocet, a combination of oxycodone, and opioid painkiller, and acetaminophen, commonly found in over-the-counter analgesics like Tylenol. Could it be true that Prince is just the latest celebrity to fall victim to an entirely preventable prescription drug overdose? The autopsy reports aren't expected for days, and more likely weeks. Meanwhile, we are reminded of the loss to the world of another musical legend, the late Michael Jackson, who died from cardiac arrest brought on chiefly by an accidental overdose of a surgical anesthetic called propofol, administered by his personal physician. Jackson's autopsy also revealed traces of the benzodiazepines midazolam, diazepam and lorazepam, as well as the topical/injectable anesthetic lidocaine. And it turned out that Jackson had been using these kinds of drug cocktails for years.

It's astonishing to learn that people can survive for years, considering all the drugs they were consuming. For example, the brilliant Academy Award winning actor Heath Ledger was taken from the world prematurely by an astounding cocktail of prescription drugs. His postmortem revealed another cocktail of prescription drugs, including the opioid painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone, the benzodiazepines alprazolam, diazepam and temazepam, and an old-fashioned antihistamine called doxylamine that's sometimes used or abused because of its sedative properties. And recently, others, such as Academy Award-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman who succumbed to a heroin overdose, and television star Cory Monteith who unwisely consumed both heroin and alcohol - a potentially deadly combination.

There are so many others who have entertained us and made our lives more enjoyable - the list seems endless. And now we've lost Prince, one of the most respected, versatile and creative forces in modern entertainment. If the story about Prince and drugs turns out to be true, it's especially sad news to us here at Novus. Freeing people from opioid dependence and addiction is an everyday occurrence for us. We know we can help almost anyone get safely on the road to recovery. And we can't help but think that, given a chance, we might have been able to turn Prince's situation around too.

Our medical opioid detox programs have saved countless lives. If you or someone you care about is in trouble with drugs or alcohol, don't hesitate to call Novus. We're always here to help.

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