Prince’s Se­cret Life of Ad­dic­tion

Co­caine, heroin, 80 pills a day. Prince’s drug habit was worse than any­one knew

In Touch (USA) - - Tragedy news -

It was the news those who loved Prince didn’t want to hear. On June 2, the Carver County, Minn., Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner’s of­fice con­firmed the wide­spread be­lief that the in­tensely pri­vate singer, whose life­less 5-foot-3, 112-pound body was found at his Pais­ley Park com­pound on April 21, had died of an ac­ci­den­tal opi­ate over­dose at 57. The star had self-ad­min­is­tered the pow­er­ful drug fen­tanyl, a syn­thetic opi­oid

100 times more pow­er­ful than mor­phine. “Even though many of Prince’s friends and fam­ily had said he didn’t abuse pre­scrip­tion drugs,” says an in­sider, “it’s now ob­vi­ous he was liv­ing a dou­ble life.”

Fen­tanyl wasn’t the only drug he was abus­ing. “The opi­ates that Prince was tak­ing in­cluded Per­co­cet, Vi­codin and Norco. At the end of his life, he was tak­ing up to 80 pills a day,” a source tells In Touch ex­clu­sively of the iconic singer, who was re­port­edly given a “save shot” for a Per­co­cet over­dose six days be­fore his death. Sadly, he had also used co­caine and heroin while spi­ral­ing down­ward into ad­dic­tion. Said the source, “His drug use got out of con­trol as he tried to bal­ance his high.” It was the dirty se­cret the mu­sic leg­end never wanted any­one to know, but it’s now be­come a part of his legacy. “Prince’s pub­lic im­age may have been that of a re­li­gious man, a healthy ve­gan who was an­tidrug, which he was,” says a sec­ond in­sider, “but he ended up be­com­ing a drug ad­dict — and an ex­pert at hid­ing his se­cret life of ad­dic­tion.”

Prince’s need for painkillers be­gan in­no­cently. He bat­tled in­tense hip and leg pain fol­low­ing years of gru­el­ing phys­i­cal per­for­mances — in­clud­ing jump­ing off ris­ers — in his beloved high-heel shoes, and “Like many peo­ple who strug­gle with pain, it slowly crept up on him,” says the sec­ond in­sider. The autopsy re­port also noted that Prince had a scar on his left hip and on the lower part of his right leg, in­dica­tive of surg­eries he had to treat his joint-pain con­di­tion. He had hip re­place­ment surgery in 2010 and his ex fi­ancée Sheila E. said, “He was in pain all the time.” That led to Prince be­com­ing re­liant on pre­scrip­tion pills, opi­oids, then fen­tanyl patches. “He was do­ing drugs all day and night,” adds the sec­ond in­sider. “It sounds in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to most peo­ple, but many ad­dicts who abuse fen­tanyl end up lick­ing the patches for quicker in­ges­tion, a faster fix. He was ex­tremely em­bar­rassed, but he couldn’t help him­self.”

Drugs changed his be­hav­ior. “Prince was a master of dis­guise, but in the end, peo­ple started to see be­hind his mask,” says the source, not­ing that the red flags were ev­i­dent as early as 2013. “He was slur­ring on­stage and had to be car­ried on and off at points, and he was often dif­fi­cult, moody or im­pos­si­ble to be around. But if he had the slight­est inkling that some­one might be catch­ing on, they were cut off.”

He fi­nally sought help — but it was too late. The day be­fore he was found dead, Prince was re­port­edly treated by a lo­cal Min­neapo­lis doc­tor for opi­oid ad­dic­tion with­drawal symp­toms. He was also set to meet with Dr. Howard Korn­feld, a North­ern Cal­i­for­nia doc­tor who spe­cial­izes in opi­oid-ad­dic­tion treat­ment us­ing the con­tro­ver­sial drug buprenor­phine. It was the doc­tor’s son, An­drew, who called 911 af­ter ar­riv­ing at Pais­ley Park with the drug in his back­pack, ready to hand it over to a doc­tor to ad­min­is­ter, but it was too late.

Now au­thor­i­ties are go­ing af­ter those who en­abled Prince’s se­cret ad­dic­tion. The Drug En­force­ment Agency and the Depart­ment of Jus­tice are as­sist­ing the Carver County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice as it fo­cuses on how Prince ob­tained painkillers. “There’s a lot of guilt that Prince’s clos­est ad­vis­ers didn’t push him to go to re­hab sooner,” says the in­sider. “But Prince’s friends want to make cer­tain that any doc­tors who over­pre­scribed sub­stances to him are held ac­count­able. They be­lieve crim­i­nal charges should be filed. They don’t want this to hap­pen to some­one else.” ◼


“He was ob­sessed with get­ting his drugs and mak­ing sure they never ran out,” says an in­sider. “The only break he got from drugs was when he was asleep, which, in the end, was very in­fre­quent.”

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