Pills that were seized from Prince’s Minnesota estate on the day he died have shed a new light on the singer’s very private battle with drug addiction – and the possible risks he could have been taking in order to satisfy his habit.
Among the prescription medications that were taken in for further testing were two dozen hydrocodone pills that officials found in an Aleve bottle.
The pills were engraved with the standard hydrocodone labeling of ‘Watson 385,’ but after they were tested officials learned that they actually contained the fentanyl, the very potent and highly addictive opioid that caused the singer’s death.
Prince did not have a prescription for fentanyl at the time of his death, which has now lead officials to believe that he may have been taking the counterfeit pills without knowing their contents.
They are now working to find the dealer who may have sold Prince the pills found inside his home.
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Problems: Pills that were taken from Prince’s estate tested positive for fentanyl singer above in 2007 at the Super Bowl)
Scene: The pills were seized on April 21 from the Paisley Park property (above), on the same day the singer died
was first to report the results of the drug testing done by officials on the case.
Investigators found large stashes of pills throughout Prince’s Paisley Park compound during their search of the property, and many have tested as counterfeit.
Some were found laying loose inside the singer’s dressing room and bag, there were pills tucked away in bottles of aspirin and Vitamin C, and many were shown to have trace amounts of other drugs after being tested in the lab.
There were traces of oxycodone and codeine in some pills, while some of the ‘Watson 385’ counterfeit hydrocodone were found to actually contain fentanyl, lidocaine and U-4770.
U-4770 is far more powerful drug than than morphine and is not even used medically at this time, existing solely for research purposes.
Even that is not as strong however as fentanyl.
The synthetic opioid has been described as 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine and is only prescribed on rare occasions, mostly to cancer patients.
Fentanyl was not detected in Prince’s body during tests conducted on the singer prior to his death, which suggests he had only recently begun to take the drug and lends credence to the claim being made by officials that the singer was unaware of the contents of the pills.
He weighed just 112lbs. at the time of his passing, but had enough fentanyl in his system to kill any man or woman, regardless of their size.
Officials now believe he took the fatal dosage just 24 hours before his death.
The singer had used fentanyl in the past however according to his former drug dealer Doctor D, who said he sold the singer drugs between 1984 and 2008 in an interview with DailyMail.com.
Doctor D said he watched him develop a major tolerance to the drugs over the years – regularly taking two to three times the recommended dose.
Pills: This undated photo provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows fake Oxycodone pills that are actually fentanyl (above)
More pills: Acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate 500 mg (above)
Prince also began to use patches of Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid approximately 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 40 to 50 times more potent than heroin.
The patches are worn like nicotine patches and provide a 72 hour constant release of the drug through the skin into the blood stream.
‘He would wear the patch as well as taking the Dilaudid – so it’s the equivalent of smoking while you have a nicotine patch on,’ Doctor D explained.
‘It’s like having a constant supply of drugs – they sell for about $200-300 per patch.
‘They come in boxes of five and I would sell Prince 20 boxes at a time.
‘You can also smoke them but I only saw him do that once.
‘You smoke it similar to a crack pipe or something like that – you burn the patch and suck the fumes through a straw.
‘It gives you an instant, intense hit.
‘He’d buy large supplies of both drugs – I think the most he ever spent was around $40,000 at one time.
‘I’d say in general his habit was costing him about $2-300 a day but that didn’t matter to him as he had plenty of money – he never ran out.’
Doctor D said apart from the one time he saw him smoke a Fentanyl patch, Prince’s drug use was limited to popping pills, which enabled him to keep his drug use out of the public eye.
‘He was always a pain pill addiction man – that’s why nobody ever saw him do drugs,’ he said.
‘He never smoked or shot up, or snorted cocaine.
‘He was always functional too – I never saw him out of it or strung out because I always provided him with what he needed and he would buy in bulk so he was always prepared.
‘At the time I was dealing other drugs too but he never asked for anything else.
‘He wasn’t really a party guy either, he was doing these drugs so he could feel at ease around people.
Drugs: Prince’s former dealer Doctor D did tell DailyMail.com that he sold Prince fentanyl in the past, and once even watched him smoke the drug
Prince was last pictured the night before his death leaving a Walgreen’s near his home around 7pm, marking the fourth time the singer had been to the pharmacy that week.
An hour later, he headed back inside his vast estate and 13 hours later he was found by friend Kirk Johnson and personal assistant Meron Bekure lying unresponsive in an elevator.
Paramedics performed CPR upon arriving on the scene five minutes after receiving a 911 call but were not successful in reviving the singer.
Officials later stated that the singer was likely dead for approximately six hours before his body was found.
An autopsy was performed the following day.
The day before Prince died, his representatives reached out to California doctor Dr Howard Kornfeld to arrange a meeting according to a lawyer for the doctor.
Attorney William Mauzy said Dr Kornfeld had never met or spoken to Prince before Prince’s representatives contacted him on April 20.
Mauzy said Dr Kornfeld was not able to travel immediately to Minnesota, so he arranged for his son Andrew to go instead.
Andrew Kornfeld took a late flight on April 20 so he could be at complex the next morning. He was with Johnson and Burke when they found Prince in the elevator.
He had never met the singer, and when he arrived made the call to 911 to report that he was unresponsive.
A week prior to his death, Prince’s plane had been forced to make an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois when he suffered an overdose.
He was given two doses of Narcan to reverse the overdose and soon after returned home to Minnesota, leaving Illinois against the orders of the medical professionals who treated him at the time.
One of the officials involved in the investigation said that Prince had many of the aforementioned counterfeit pills found in his home with him on the plane during that emergency landing.