Addiction Treatment

Prince’s death ruled accidental fentanyl overdose, no charges laid

Call 800-926-9037 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor. Who Answers?

No charges will be filed against doctor in prince fentanyl death

Authorities in Carver County, Minnesota, said Thursday that Prince’s death two years ago this month was from an accidental overdose of fentanyl in pain medication. His doctor won’t be charged in the musician’s death.

Michael Schulenberg, Prince’s doctor, did write an illegal prescription for pain medication that he’s agreed to pay $30,000 in civil penalties for, but he won’t face criminal charges.

The drug that killed Prince was fake Vicodin, the Carver County Attorney, Mark Metz explained. Prince did not know that the pills he took contained the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which can be a hundred times more potent than heroin, and which can be deadly in even tiny amounts.

Chemical tests on Vicodin discovered at the singer’s home after he died revealed they had fentanyl in them, though authorities stressed they had no evidence Prince knew what was in the pills. Nor, they said, was there any hint that someone else knew what was in the pills he was taking.

Dr. Schulenberg’s $30,000 penalty is for civil charges related to his breaking the Controlled Substances Act by prescribing a Schedule 2 drug for one patient, even though he knew the pills were likely to be used by someone else. The Drug Enforcement Administration will continue to keep an eye on Schulenberg in the future as part of the settlement.

In agreeing to settle the civil charges, Schulenberg did not accept or admit any liability for causing Prince’s death.

Authorities, despite a thorough investigation lasting two years – Prince died April 21, 2016 – were unable to figure out who might have supplied the singer with the fake Vicodin that led to the overdose and his death.

Metz, the Carver County Attorney, said Prince probably didn’t know anything about what was in the pills he was taking, certainly not that the fentanyl in them could kill him.

One risk of opioid pain medications is an accidental overdose such as the one that killed singer Tom Petty the year after Prince died. Petty was using several different pain medications for chronic aches in his hip and knee, and he unknowingly gave himself an overdose of fentanyl. The doses of the opioid from several different sources combined to reach a deadly level.

In their announcement Thursday, Carver County authorities also released other materials from Prince’s case, including video of him visiting Dr. Schulenberg’s office the day before he died. He went with a friend, Kirk Johnson, also seen in the video. Authorities said Schulenberg made out the illegal prescriptions in Johnson’s name, though the drugs were for Prince.

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.

I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWI NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW 800-926-9037Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?