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Medical Examiner Confirms Prince’s Death from Fentanyl Overdose

Amidst rumors of Prince’s alleged cause of death, the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Minnesota released the heavily-awaited autopsy report for Prince, declaring his death the cause of “Accidental Fentanyl Toxicity”. While many still may be in disbelief by the report’s findings, this high-profile case of “opioid addiction” is an especially influential example that brings awareness to just how vast addiction is in our society.

The autopsy confirmed that Prince “Self-Administered Fentanyl”, ultimately leading to his death. The Associated Press instigated the release of information after sharing that, through an anonymous source, it was determined that Prince had died of an “Opioid Overdose”, followed by a release by the Minneapolis Star Tribune stating that the pop star died of an “Overdose of Painkillers”. In response, and to quell the ongoing suspicion, it is believed that the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, who is leading the investigation, felt pressured to release the official autopsy.

Though the press has been predicting such an outcome since the star’s untimely death in late April of this year, many fans will be stunned at the declaration that this incomparable icon was the victim of a self-incriminating disease: addiction. While we continue to celebrate his life and his work, this confirmation, we hope, helps a greater number of those in our community to understand that addiction does not discriminate.

In 2014, 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in relation to opioid pain relievers, which the CDC programmatically categorizes (natural and semisynthetic opioids, methadone, and other synthetic opioids) as "prescription" opioid overdoses.
In 2014, 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the US from opioid pain relievers.

As we reported last November in an article entitled “Accidentally Addicted”, prescription medications are responsible for more overdose deaths in the United States than all other drug overdoses combined. This includes Fentanyl, the lethal drug that was found in Prince’s body at the time of his death, and what was determined to ultimately be the cause of death. USA TODAY shared in a recent article that the star was reported to have visited a local pharmacy with a friend the evening before he was found dead in his Paisley Park home.

To those who have dealt with opiate addiction, either themselves or via a loved one, Prince’s story of addiction and death is surprisingly “normal” by today’s standards. His behavior, based on the information that has been released in the press, paints the typical portrait of someone struggling with life-threatening opiate addiction.

Just days prior, his stunned staff called a painkiller addiction specialist to “rescue” Prince from a “grave physical state”, believed to be brought about by his use of opioids. Following that event, his private plane was grounded after his staff described that he had “fallen unconscious from an opioid overdose”. He was revived by the opioid-antidote Narcan, an increasingly popular “rescue-remedy” in the fight against fatal opiate overdose deaths.

Medical Examiner
Photo Credit: Spokesman.com

Narcan, also known as Naloxone, has been adopted by jurisdictions across the country, and is now available at select pharmacies and drugstores, like CVS and Walgreens, because of its effectiveness in counteracting the lethal effects of opiate overdoses. It has now been famously linked to helping revive heroin addicts as overdoses and deaths related to heroin and other opiates have skyrocketed throughout the nation, markedly increasing year-over-year, claiming 47,055 lives alone in 2014 (the most recently released statistics available). The CDC, one of the governing agencies who release annual reports on accidental overdoses, expects the deaths related to opiates in 2015 and 2016 to far exceed the numbers calculated from 2014.

While there will be a flurry of continuing reports detailing the cause of Prince’s death, his last weeks as told by his staff members is a story that has been told, and lived through hundreds of thousands of times by people and families across our Nation. Addiction – an all-too-often stigmatized disease – can affect anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, social ranking, intellect and beyond. Prince’s death should not be overshadowed by the reasons as to why he died, but should serve as an example to the greater community that addiction does not discriminate.

Recovery Songs: Vol. 2

Last year, we shared a blog on our favorite recovery songs – whether the message of the song helps you get through the hard times, or reminds you of where you never want to be again – they all “strike a chord” and therapeutically support our recovery goals. Music has that way of hitting deeply to the inner feelers we keep so protected. Continue reading Recovery Songs: Vol. 2

The Hope Center for Rehabilitation receives the gold standard

With upwards of 15,000 substance abuse treatment facilities in the U.S., it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you or a loved one. One of the best ways to choose the right treatment program is to consider the facilities certifications. A seal of approval from the Joint Commission (JCAHO) is considered the highest award available Continue reading The Hope Center for Rehabilitation receives the gold standard

This is my #drugofchoice

As addicts, drugs and alcohol take over our actions, as well as our thoughts. The “great obsession” of using liquefies any desire to pursue interests that we either used to love or might find enriching to our lives. Refreshed and renewed, many of us feel the overwhelming need to replenish our desires with healthy actions. And this is where the concept of a new #drugofchoice is formulated. Continue reading This is my #drugofchoice

The Real Story on New Hampshire Heroin

New Hampshire has been at the forefront of US headlines illustrating the efforts to fight America’s heroin epidemic. It’s not because they have the most overdose deaths amongst the other US states. It’s because their legislation is doing an incredible job, arguably better than any other state’s, at exploiting the issue and proposing and appointing measures to help combat the struggle with the growing epidemic Continue reading The Real Story on New Hampshire Heroin

Heroin Hits Massachusetts Hard in Wake of Highest Overdose Deaths In History

As we probe states across the country that have been hit particularly hard with today’s modern heroin epidemic, one leads the way on many fronts: Massachusetts. In highlighting some of the more recent headlines, we hope to reveal the devastating, and crippling effects heroin, and other illicit drugs, are having on the residents and small towns in the commonwealth state, as well as to share what they are doing about the situation to help those affected. Continue reading Heroin Hits Massachusetts Hard in Wake of Highest Overdose Deaths In History

Heroin Epidemic in New Jersey

In recent years, a rapid increase in the use, distribution and fatalities linked to heroin have skyrocketed. In a several-part series, we are taking a closer look into the emergence of areas labeled “Herointowns”, which are popping up across the country. These typically suburban and rural areas have, in the past, lay dormant to inflated drug use and activity – or were unnoticed until recently. Continue reading Heroin Epidemic in New Jersey

How To Tell Others You’re In Recovery

We’ve all been in this situation. Having to explain to someone else that you’re sober and working a program of recovery. Typically, it becomes easier to do the longer we are in the program, as naturally with time we not only become stronger in our sobriety, and more grounded in our recovery, but the stigma of our old behaviors begin to drift away, opening up space to show others our fresh, refined selves. Continue reading How To Tell Others You’re In Recovery

Stay Present For The Miracles

Every now and then, someone says something, or does something so profound that it sticks with you for your whole life. Maybe it was something a relative said to you as a child, or a boss’s piece of advice or maybe even a great movie line that you’ve carried with you as a sort of mantra.
Continue reading Stay Present For The Miracles

Being An Alcoholic Saved My Life

It’s not often you hear something that, despite its irony, makes perfect sense. When most people think of an alcoholic, they envision a person at the bottom of the social scale, brown-bagging their addiction on a street corner. However, the alcoholics that I have come to know and love are amazingly deep, talented, insightful and giving people. They’ve had the blessing of connecting with the truest, most exquisite version of themselves as a direct result of their alcoholism.
Continue reading Being An Alcoholic Saved My Life