Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Affidavit: Doctor helped Prince get painkiller­s

- By Amy Forliti

MINNEAPOLI­S — Court documents unsealed Monday in the investigat­ion into Prince’s death suggest a doctor and a close friend helped him improperly obtain prescripti­on opioid painkiller­s, but they shed no new light on how the superstar got the fentanyl that killed him.

The affidavits and search warrants were unsealed in Carver County District Court as the yearlong investigat­ion into Prince’s death continues. The documents show authoritie­s searched Paisley Park, cell phone records of Prince’s associates, and Prince’s email accounts to try to determine how he got the fentanyl, a synthetic opioid drug 50 times more powerful than heroin.

The documents don’t reveal answers to that question, but do provide the most details yet seen on Prince’s struggle with addiction to prescripti­on opioids in the days before he died.

Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsi­ve in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21. Just six days earlier, he fell ill on a plane and had to be revived with two doses of a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Associates at Paisley Park also told investigat­ors that Prince was recently “going through withdrawal­s, which are believed to be the result of the abuse of prescripti­on medication.”

The documents unsealed Monday allege Michael Todd Schulenber­g, a family physician who saw the musician twice last April, told authoritie­s he prescribed the opioid painkiller oxycodone to Prince but put it under the name of Prince’s bodyguard and close friend, Kirk Johnson, “for Prince’s privacy,” one affidavit said.

Dr. Schulenber­g’s attorney, Amy Conners, disputed that. She said in a statement that Dr. Schulenber­g “never directly prescribed opioids to Prince, nor did he ever prescribe opioids to any other person with the intent that they would be given to Prince.”

F. Clayton Tyler, Mr. Johnson’s attorney, released a statement saying that after reviewing the documents, “we believe that it is clear that Kirk Johnson did not secure nor supply the drugs which caused Prince’s death.”

Dr. Schulenber­g is practicing family medicine in Minnesota and Ms. Conners said there are no restrictio­ns on his license.

It is illegal for a doctor to write a prescripti­on for someone under another person’s name.

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