The loss of one of music’s shining stars last week took an even sadder turn today. While we don’t yet know the results of Prince’s autopsy after his untimely death on the 21st of April, there are certain details that are starting to emerge that cast a bit of a sad patina over the whole situation. We now know that the emergency landing that Prince’s plane had to make the week before his death was due to an overdose of narcotics – Prince was rushed to a hospital and given a life-saving dose of naloxone (also known as Narcan), a drug that counteracts the effects of opioid narcotics.
The working theory at the moment is that Prince was suffering from a nagging hip injury, and had become addicted to Percocet, a potent and addictive opioid pain reliever that has been the undoing of many a celebrity. However,perhaps the saddest part of this new bit of information is that by all appearances, Prince (or perhaps those around him) may have been trying to seek urgent help in the days, if not the moments leading up to his death. Us Weekly recently reported on a situation that was likely playing-out in the same moments that the singer was breathing his last.
Prince was due to meet an opioid addiction expert, Dr. Howard Kornfeld, on April 22, the day after his death, a new report has claimed. However, Kornfeld was unable to see Prince on that day, so had sent his son, Andrew Kornfeld (who also works at the same clinic), to the residence and had plans to follow up the next day, April 22.
By all appearances, it seems that Prince’s people may have known that his addiction had gotten out of hand, and with or without the singer’s knowledge, they were taking appropriate steps to do something about it. This makes his tragic loss all the more painful, as the intervention seems to have happened literally hours too late.
According to sources that have spoken to Us Magazine, Dr. Howard Kornfeld is one of the leading experts on treating addiction in the country. Allegedly Prince’s people had phoned him for help the day before he died. Dr. Kornfeld’s clinic, Recovery Without Walls, is a highly-esteemed clinic that specialises in chronic pain, medication management, addiction issues and alcoholism. The practice is located in Mill Valley, California, although using their evidence-based approach, they function mainly as an outpatient clinic, an approach which, in their own words, allow patients to “experience minimal disruption to their personal and professional lives while they heal.” While the clinic does occasionally recommend inpatient treatment for some patients, the clinic states that this is usually done in local boutique hotels. This approach would undoubtedly be very attractive to celebrities like Prince, who have a greater need for Privacy and discretion while they undergo treatment.
Although Dr. Kornfeld himself was unable to attend Prince at his mansion on such short notice, as soon as he got the call from Prince’s people (who described the situation as a “grave medical emergency”), his son Andrew (a pre-med student who works with Dr. Kornfeld Sr.) got on an overnight flight from Los Angeles to meet with Prince. Sadly, Andrew Kornfeld was one of the people who was on the scene when they discovered Prince’s body in the elevator of his Paisley Park Mansion.
Andrew arrived at Prince’s home on April 21 and was one of the people at Paisley Park when the singer’s body was discovered. A source claims that Andrew was the person who called 911.
In addition to the obvious tragedy of the situation, the events that unfolded have also opened another investigation. The Drug Enforcement Agency in the USA (widely known as the DEA), always takes an interest when someone passes away as a result of prescription opioid use. while it is still too early to say for sure that Prince did indeed die of an unintentional overdose, there are enough elements at work that the DEA has also opened in investigation into the prescribing practices surrounding the singer, and any actions that may or may not have been taken by his physicians. The Guardian had the opportunity to speak with a source at the DEA this week.
We issue DEA numbers to physicians that prescribe controlled substance and we monitor that program and in the event that there’s some indication that something has transpired or something that needs to be investigated with the prescription of a controlled substance. If a doctor has been found to have violated federal rules for prescribing drugs, it is punishable, it is a federal crime. Right now it’s an open investigation … We’re just seeing if there is or is not wrongdoing.
For the sake of everyone involved, here’s hoping that this case doesn’t continue to grow arms and legs, and we can put one of music’s most prolific figures to rest with the legacy that he so richly deserves.