Saturday 10 December 2016

Mislabelled pills taken from Prince's estate contained powerful opioid

Sherna Noah

Published 23/08/2016 | 02:30

Prince died on April 21 of an accidental overdose. Photo: Getty
Prince died on April 21 of an accidental overdose. Photo: Getty

Some of the pills taken from Prince's estate in Paisley Park after his death were counterfeit drugs that actually contained fentanyl - a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin, an official close to the investigation said.

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The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said nearly two dozen pills found in one Aleve bottle were falsely labelled as "Watson 385". According to Drugs.com, that stamp is used to identify pills containing a mix of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, but the official said at least one of the pills tested positive for fentanyl.

Autopsy results show Prince died of an accidental fentanyl overdose. The official said records show he had no prescription for any controlled substances in the state of Minnesota. Authorities are investigating how he obtained the drugs.

Fentanyl has been responsible for a surge in overdose deaths in some parts of the US. When made into counterfeit pills, users don't always know they're taking fentanyl, increasing the risk of fatal overdose.

Some of pills seized from Paisley Park were found to have other drugs in them, some were oxycodone or codeine, and some were not controlled substances. About a dozen tablets were found in a dressing room at Paisley Park, but the vast majority found were in bottles of aspirin and Vitamin C that had been tucked inside bags.

Tests on Prince prior to his death did not show fentanyl in his system, which means he wasn't a long-time abuser of the drug, but likely took the overdose in the day before he died, the official said.

Irish Independent

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