We are still weeks away from the official results of what contributed to Prince’s death. The prevailing belief currently is that it was an unintentional overdose stemming from an addiction to Percocet. It is believed that Prince had ongoing pain from a hip injury. However, at the time of his death, it appears he was trying to take steps to overcome his addiction. Apparently, Dr. Howard Kornfield of Recovery Without Walls was asked to Paisley Park for a medical emergency. Howard was not available immediately but he sent his son Andrew, who also works at the clinic, and Howard was scheduled to arrive the following day. Tragically, they were trying to locate Prince to announce Andrew’s arrival when Prince was found unresponsive.
Prince was due to meet an opioid addiction expert, Dr. Howard Kornfeld, on April 22, the day after his death, a new report has claimed.
According to the Star Tribune, the California doctor says he had an appointment to meet with the “Purple Rain” singer to help him fight his addiction to painkillers.
William Mauzy, an attorney in Minneapolis working with the Kornfeld family, explained that the famed addiction doctor was called because the artist was suffering a “grave medical emergency.”
Kornfeld was unable to see Prince, who was found dead at his Paisley Park studio on April 21, on that day, so had sent his son, Andrew Kornfeld, to the residence and had plans to follow up the next day, April 22.
According to Mauzy, Andrew arrived at Prince’s home on April 21 and was one of the people at Paisley Park when the singer’s body was discovered. Mauzy claims Andrew was the person who called 911.
You can read the Star Tribune article here; it speaks to the chaos during Andrew’s 911 call. Dr. Kornfield’s acclaimed clinic is in Marin County in California. Andrew caught a redeye from San Francisco to meet with Prince as soon as Prince called. Sources have confirmed that the emergency landing a week before his death was the result of an overdose, one that required a shot of Narcan to save him. Some family members have discussed his dependency on painkillers and cocaine. Regardless of what the autopsy finds, it’s fair to assume that his alleged drug dependencies were severely impacting Prince’s quality of life. It will be all the more tragic if it is determined he was trying get healthy when the addiction killed him.
Photo credit: WENN and Fame/Flynet Photos
This all just makes me so sad.
I’m off to my happy place to watch his videos and his appearance on New Girl
Me too. Pain is a b*tch. I respect his beliefs, but it makes me incredibly sad that they doomed him to trying to have to live with his pain as best he could.
What do you mean? Do you think his religious beliefs stopped him from seeking treatment? I thought his religion just looked down on blood transfusions but were okay with other medical intervention?
But didn’t our Jehovah’s Witnesses readers explain to us that they can take medicine, they just can’t do blood transfusions? It’s not like he wasn’t allowed to ameliorate the pain. If he weren’t allowed to take pain medicine he wouldn’t have been taking them, and obviously he was if he became addicted. He wasn’t hiding the pain medicine from anybody because he was allowed to take them per his religion, so I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.
The issue was that he would have needed hip replacement surgery in order to heal and no longer be in pain – and that requires having blood available for transfusion. They wouldn’t have done the surgery without it on hand, so he refused.
Sad, sad and more sad. Just heartbreaking.
I’m still so very heart broken over this.
Heartbroken here too. Will miss his presence here on earth for the rest of my life. ‘Oh why…’
Yeah I remember reading something about his hip injury. He used a wheelchair sometimes.
There was a story from his personal chef who runs a chain of restaurants in the Minneapolis area about how he seemed to lose his all appetite in the weeks before his death too. Maybe his pain was just that bad?
It’s possible. Could be the percocet too – maybe.
I got a prescription for it during my last bout of kidney stones. It wasn’t one that I could refill, but I still have a bunch left over just in case the stones come back.
Personally – I couldn’t get hooked on percocet. I like end up power puking because it’s hard on my stomach. Which – I could believe would be a decent reason to lose your appetite as well. I had to take it with gravol, and I’d always take the minimum dosage, luckily.
I have taken it twice and both times I threw up in about twenty minutes.
One of the side effects of codeine (the narcotic in Percocet) is nausea.
In the throws of bad addiction it’s really common to lose your appetite for food- sometimes completely. Your body/liver is just so sick it can’t take anything else to process (even nutrition). I’ve known alcoholics & addicts that were on a liquid diet before seeking help. It’s really sad- getting to the point where you or your body doesn’t even want food but keep going with the substance. I used to see skinny alcoholics and wonder since they were ingesting so much sugar but it was just empty sugar & they weren’t ingesting much else. They usually come into treatment with a myriad of deficiencies in vitamins. I’m side eyeing Charlie Sheen & his (supposedly) alcohol with Ensure drinks. I read that he was drinking that often and liked the taste.
I hope Prince wasn’t in this much pain and it was just a side effect of the pills.
Addiction takes another good soul……..
There is an awful story on TMZ about how the caller of the 911 call, this doctors son, will end up being criminally prosecuted because he had the drug that helps wein people off drug use. Since he’s not a doctor, his dad is, they want to get him in loads of trouble. Ugh. They were on the way to save this mans life. If only it had been the day before. How tragic all around.
Oh gosh! I hope the son is not prosecuted. This was a life and death situation. Isn’t the son a med school student or pre med? Let’s hope he doesn’t get in trouble.
If I was sent to save a man’s life, you bet I’d risk carrying pharmaceuticals that would assist in the process.
You know the son can sleep better at night knowing he tried to help instead of declining to travel to Minnesota due to the risks involved. He was just about 12 hours too late unfortunately. 🙁
I disagree— if Prince’s life was really in danger, this “doctor” from Cali. should have told Prince or his handlers to get him to a medical facility ASAP (and also not to leave him alone overnight). Minnesota has tons of good hospitals, doctors, and addiction specialists. There wasn’t a need for this doctor’s twentysomething son to fly from CA to MN with a controlled substance in his backpack to deliver medication that Prince could have gotten at a hospital within 20 minutes of his house.
The doctor is coming out with this story because from a criminal angle this is extremely bad for him and his son.
EXACTLY! Hazelden, one of the finest facilities in the country, is a lot closer to Paisley Park than California. Why the effin’ hell didn’t that doctor immediately advise his staff to take him there, we’ll never know.
From what I read, they did advise Prince’s team to seek medical help locally and immediately. For whatever reason — I’m guessing privacy? — they chose to wait for this guy. It is bad, and it reminds me a bit of Michael Jackson’s situation.
Hazelden is also one of the most secure and confidential organizations. They also work with Mayo Clinic doctors to assist people in chronic pain management plans.
Agreed. Hazelden is just about 4 miles from Paisley Park, too, per a report I read, making all this even more tragic. Just heartbreakingly sad.
Yikes. That’s too bad. I heard that he wouldn’t be prosecuted under the good samaritan act, as we was there to try to help and had not given Prince any medicine at the point of his death. It will be interesting to see which way it goes.
Per local (MPLS) reports, the doctor’s son was to deliver the meds he had to Prince’s doctor(s). Since he isn’t legally able to dispense meds to patients himself. One would think, the fact Prince reached out to them, instead of seeking more local treatment, would affect any judgement. This young man shouldn’t be held responsible for what happened- a very tragic accident.
I am not an attorney, I am an MD, but in some states there is retroactive immunity for the person who makes the 911 call. So if the call is made from the home of a person who has drugs in the house, that person is immune from prosecution for possession. I don’t know if that applies here.
However, medically, I believe that both the CA and Minneapolis physicians are likely to lose their medical licenses. Here is why. Buprenorphine prescriptions are regulated. Physicians must undergo special training and receive approval from the DEA (as well as a special prescriber ID) in order to prescribe/administer the drug. It has not been FDA approved for the purpose of addiction management. In this context, it is being used in what is called “off label,” which is common for various types of meds.
If the accounts I have read are accurate, then the son was traveling from CA with an RX for buprenorphine to provide it to the Minneapolis doctor who was to treat Prince. That is a HUGE no-no. If Prince’s local physician did not have the proper DEA approval to prescribe/administer the medication, then the CA doctor had no right to provide it to him. One would think that if the local physician did have the proper credentials, he/she could have prescribed it locally. The fact that it had to be flown in suggests that this doctor was not properly accredited to prescribe and administer it.
Legally, I don’t know what that means. Medically, this is a reason to lose a medical license.
When I first heard the story that his private jet had to make emergency landing because of flu I thought “drug overdose” sad to realize now that was true. Thank u for the music Prince u are a legend forever!
So, uh, yeah. Not the flu. But still devastating. Dear PR People: The lies don’t help or get the people you’re “protecting” the support they need.
At least the week before, when he almost died, he saw how much people, the fans, cared about him.
I have such HATRED for the pharmaceutical industry. These drugs are not a solution to pain.
After my C Section I was given tramadol and I was laying in bed and realized I WASN’T BREATHING. I sat up and had to make myself take each breath. In… out… in… out. The drug is so strong that it was lulling my body into a state where it forgot to even breath. I did that for an hour.
I was also given a shit-ton of OxyContin, which I barely took. And for my anxiety I have a prescription for lorazepam. Let me tell you… They insist on giving me SIXTY pills at a time. And it’s renewed with no questions, ever. I am very careful with it but it’s extremely addictive if taken too much.
Basically it’s up to the patient to not become addicted and not overdose. I am lucky that I have a paranoia of medication and only take the absolute minimum at all times. And still I had that bad situation with the tramadol.
I’m ranting. I’m just so angry. Why are patients treated like this? This isn’t Tylenol, people! This stuff destroys lives and ends lives very quickly. It’s thrown around like candy by many doctors. This is so sad. A hip injury should not result in a drug dependency.
Sending healing thoughts to Prince’s friends and family.
Don’t hate the pharmaceutical industry. They are the ones who came up with a CURE for hep C, and many types of cancers. Drugs are tools, and like any other tool they can cause issues or even death if not used properly.
Also, as far as Prince’s hip injury- unfortunately we still don’t have any pain killers as effective as the opiates. If he was in serious pain, it was probably his only option. As someone who lives with chronic pain, I can tell you, it is no picnic at all.
SilkyMalice- naw…I hate the pharmaceutical industry and I’m good with that. They did come up with cures which is great and the fight for the almighty dollar keeps them pushing for new cures.
But the opiate epidemic is staggering and with the younger generation. These pills are very prevalent with teens who are getting hooked, eventually can’t afford the pills and are going to heroin since it is in the same family of drugs. The pharmaceutical company knows this & has not done enough to combat it.
The pharma companies know that a huge amount of these types of pills are being abused & they don’t care. It gives them $$$$. Why would one patient be able to get so many pills?! It’s ridiculous.
But it is changing & they are creating a database so it’s harder to doctor shop or go to a different state for more pills. Maybe why Prince was flying for pills? I’ve heard of addicts taking trips to Hawaii for more Oxy- this is no joke.
But it was legislation that caused these protections not pharma putting their own money or care into it. They should be ashamed. They’ve saved so many lives and in the same time caused so many deaths and they know it. Just look at the d-bag who decided to up charge for life saving meds. He’s the face of pharma in America.
The makers of Oxy claimed it wasn’t addictive for almost 30 years. They just paid a fine of 600 million dollars – a drop in the bucket to them. No one went to jail.
I’m in a substance abuse counseling program and the pharm industry and doctors are the pushers of the 21st century. Doctors get 3 hours of addiction training in med school. They have no idea. It’s criminal.
So, so true. After I had surgery they gave me a ton of percocet and I threw that shit away. Got through it with a higher dose of Motrin, no problem. It’s criminal the way the US prosecutes illegal drug users but lets the big pharma drug pushers do whatever the hell they want. They should teach a course in addictive drugs in med school, along with nutrition. Neither of which are ever addressed in MD training.
That’s really ignorant. Just because you didn’t need percocet after an unnamed surgery doesn’t mean that other people don’t need pain meds. You seem to not be aware that chronic pain is the #1 reported malady to drs every year, causes billions in lost revenue in the US alone every year, etc. Having worked in the biomedical field and alongside doctors for years, they are absolutely aware of addiction and pain meds. They base their treatment on actual stats and data. Sooo if pain meds are safe, effective and non-addictive for 99% of the general population, then it’s make sense that they would prescribe, doesn’t it.
Jess- chronic pain being reported as the #1 health condition in America is partly due to addicts needing pills!!! It does exist and people do need these meds- nobody is talking about getting rid of them altogether but some more protection is needed.
Wow- your statement “Having worked in the biomedical field and alongside doctors for years, they are absolutely aware of addiction and pain meds. They base their treatment on actual stats and data.”
This is just not true. You called someone out for ignorance after they shared their personal story & saying there should be education but you say all doctors are one way?! The pill epidemic in this country shows you are being naive.
Most doctors are amazing but there are plenty who will write up a scrip for pills after pills after pills. Saying that every doctor out there knows & cares about addiction is not seeing the problem. Also saying that there aren’t doctors who are pill addicts themselves- nurses & doctors get hooked to & do what they need to do for their addiction. I think addiction is the #1 health issue in America today.
Go to a treatment facility with addicts. Seriously- any of them. You will see 17 yr old girls that got hooked on their mom’s Oxy, spent all their money & then went to heroin. It’s heartbreaking to then hear where that took them…… It’s a huge epidemic in our country. Huge & heartbreaking.
Sorry but I base my opinion are hard facts and stats, peer-reviewed journals and double-blind studies. Addiction is not the #1 health issue in America today. Just because you think it, doesn’t make it so. The numbers simply don’t bear it out full stop. I didn’t say that all doctors are one way, but you said that doctors receive no training/education about addiction, and that is untrue. I reserve my sympathy for the MILLIONS of people living with chronic pain who obey the law, not those who have chosen to abuse drugs and alcohol. You talk of protection but there are already a huge number of regulations about these meds. Regulations that have made it more difficult for those that truly need these meds to get them. Criminalizing drugs is clearly not the answer in my opinion.
Jess, doctors get three hours of training in addiction in med school. They are the new pushers. You may have know some informed doctors, but I’d say 95% are not. And Oxy was just approved by the FDA for kids as young as 11!!!!! Whee!!!!! Your naïveté is part of the problem in this country.
I’m in the field, and I’ll never be out of a job in addiction counseling. Never.
Jess- I don’t reserve my sympathy. I have sympathy for chronic pain suffers and addicts.
Google Jess Grubbs Obama (she was an addict who touched Obama and sparked a lot of media). Hopefully you will see a story that will make you open your eyes a little. This is happening in our society and saying that it is not a problem is not helping. I hope addiction never hits you or your family.
Not sure what the fuss is about. Had 2 C-sections, got something like 4 doses of Vicodin first time around, and about 3 doses of Percocet and a prescription for just 1 more 3-dose refill second time around. That hardly seems like enough to get hooked? And I didn’t even need all of them. I think I took 1 dose of Vicodin after I left the hospital, and was fine with just the Tylenol the second time around.
Does not sound irresponsible to me, considering C-section is a fairly major surgery.
I don’t know if the pharmaceutical industry is to blame. I for one am grateful for some of the medications developed because they have literally saved my son’s life. I have tons of respect for the doctors we’ve worked with, they are judicious and extremely careful with prescribing them, they don’t just toss out scripts like candy, far from it.
As for pain and pain meds, I think it partly depends on the medical team that works with you. My dad was very sick and in terrible pain and he had a “pain management team” who oversaw his meds, including developing a plan from the get go to wean him off it asap. It worked very well. He never had dependency issues.
In any case, my heart breaks again for Prince. It sounds like his last days/weeks were agonizing.
After a wisdom tooth extraction my dentist prescribed tramadol. I took it once and felt like I was dying. It was honestly one of the worst experiences of my life. That stuff is no joke.
Same exact experience with it, also after wisdom teeth extraction (at age 40 which was a nightmare; I didn’t realize it’s much more involved surgery after your teens and twenties bc your roots keep growing). I took it once and threw it out. Scared the hell out of me.
Whoah, um no. These meds are a LIFELINE to the millions of people who live with chronic pain. I take Opana ER and tramadol ER everyday plus oxycodone for breakthrough pain — these meds have changed my life for the better in a hundred ways. I finally feel like I have a future again.
I feel for Prince because I know what it’s like to live with severe pain; I live in the Twin Cities & I’ve had the same hip problems that he did. That type of injury to the hip can cause absolutely agony, and I know that the 2 hip surgeons here in the Twin Cities have horrible bedside manner. I had to go to Chicago to get my hip surgery. So I’m sympathetic but I’m also so, so angry at him for causing people to say ignorant things like you just said. It feels me with so much anxiety because these meds are NOT easy to get. Chronic pain patients have to jump through so many hoops already to get adequate treatment; in fact, approx 85% of pain patients in the US report that they don’t feel their pain is adequately treated. Why? Because we get treated like addicts, we get pressure from doctors to reduce meds even if our pain is responding to the meds, pain management clinics close every day because drs don’t want to deal with the DEA, many docs flat out say that they will not treat pain patients, etc. IT IS NOT EASY to get treatment.
Doctors do not throw these meds around like candy. That is a fallacy. It’s also a fallacy to believe that most people are going to get addicted if they take these meds. Do you understand that the rates of addiction among the chronic pain population is only 3% and within the general population it’s 1%? That’s not an epidemic. And it’s a logical fallacy to think that simply taking these meds away from addicts will stop their addictions. Maybe read up on prohibition and the war on drugs of the 70s-90s and see how well that worked out. The vast, vast majority of people can take these drugs safely and without any problems. Furthermore, the number of prescription drug overdoses is grossly overinflated; if someone dies with alcohol, heroin, meth and oxy in their system, guess what? Their death can be reported as a “narcotic drug overdose”. Even with the inflated numbers, FAR, FAR more people die every year from the FLU. If there’s an “opioid epidemic” then there should be f*ing riots in the streets about the flu.
Did you know that patients who actually take the narcotic meds that they’re prescribed after surgery do better overall from those surgeries up to 2 years afterward? That’s opposed to those patients who “throw out” or stop those meds early because they believe they’ll get addicted or because they think they know better.
Thank you jess.
As someone with chronic pain, two back surgeries, and degenerative disc disease it is annoying to read others act as if doctors are just throwing pills into the air….
The hoops I have to go through for my script, the testing, the states …..
Ugh, I WISH something as trivial as tramadol worked for me, then I wouldn’t have to deal with insurance companies and get authorization every time I see my pain management doctor 😥
I know, right. It’s so depressing. I’m so sorry to hear of your pain. This is not a life I would wish on my worst enemy although when I read such ignorant things, I wish some people could at least experience it for a day or so.
I’ve had such anxiety since Prince’s death hearing people talk about the “opioid epidemic” and I want to scream “this is my LIFE you’re talking about”. It makes me so angry that people actually think that these meds are handed out like candy. I don’t know if people are just honestly ignorant of how restrictive the rules about these meds are or it’s just “sexy” now to blame all the addiction woes on narcotics. Of course, if people are only going by what they see on TV or what they read online, it makes sense. When was the last time, a character was depicted on a tv show or in the movies was shown living well with chronic pain?
I hate, hate, hate having to go to the doctor’s office every 3 weeks because I can’t be prescribed more than 30 days worth of meds. I feel trapped here. I think about moving but what if I can’t find a good doctor again? My copays changed at the beginning of Feb, and my Opana went from $10 a month to $75 a month. It costs over $150 a month for me to refill my meds. On any one day, I owe my doc $500-$1000 because I can never keep up with the bills having to go in every 3 weeks. They can call us in any moment for a drug test or to count our pills.
I started having chronic pain when I was 12, developed another pain syndrome at 26, and it wasn’t until I was 33 that I started getting adequate pain control. I’ll never have children. I’ll prob never get married. Every dream that I’ve had for my life was been destroyed. There’s not an aspect of our lives that isn’t touched by chronic pain. And I get up everyday, work a full time job, take care of my home and my dog, take my meds, do my PT exercises, meditate, eat a special diet, and try to live a life worth living. And it’s not easy. We’ll never have the lives that most people have.
I never feel high. I never feel foggy. All I feel is less pain. I obey my doctor’s rules, and I obey the law. As do the vast majority of us.
You assert that doctors don’t over-prescribe, and while I think that’s the case for most people, I doubt that’s true for someone with the money and influence Prince had. I suspect he had access to pills whenever he wanted them. Like Michael Jackson did.
I think the main place to lay blame here is the notion that addiction is correlated with failure. Had he not had the pressures to be “Prince” he might have been able to get on top of this earlier. It’s just so tragic.
Jess- you seem really fired up about this.
I commented above and will bow out after this but please try to see that there is another side to this that you may not have experience in but it does exists. I’m very glad for you that it hasn’t existed in your life.
Saying “Doctors do not throw these meds around like candy. That is a fallacy.”
That is just discounting hundreds & thousands of peoples experiences. Some doctors do!!!! Michael Jackson’s doctor did. Doctors are not saints. They are people and some give out pills like candy. I’ve met some. One even kept giving my relative pills after pills after pills, then asked her out on a date. Lovely.
Look at treatment facilities, addiction in America, talk to people who work in ER’s taking care of ODs and then come back here to talk in all black & white.
No one on this thread has said that all pills are bad or to get rid of them. No one has taken a defensive stance and said all doctors are bad or all pharma is bad.
But it’s not all good!!!
For you to say “opioid epidemic” like it doesn’t exist or is made up in our minds to make doctors bad is flippant to say the best. It’s cruel to say the worst. Don’t get all up in arms about people attacking (they didn’t) chronic pain suffers and you just throw addicts stories out the window like they didn’t happen.
There should be riots in the street against this crap. The opioid epidemic is very real & is killing people every day. Don’t tell me that is not happening when I have sat with many people who did get pills subscribed by doctors like candy.
JESS- In response to “I reserve my sympathy for the MILLIONS of people living with chronic pain who obey the law, not those who have chosen to abuse drugs and alcohol.”
Those that suffer from the chronic & debilitating illness of addiction do not CHOOSE to abuse drugs & alcohol. Your statement makes it abundantly clear that you don’t understand this disease.
Thank you, Jess. You as so right. It’s incredibly difficult to get effective treatment when you’re in chronic pain. People abusing drugs recreationally fuck over those of us who genuinely need opiates to manage chronic pain. To say they’re handed out like candy is simply not true. There are always going to be a handful of doctors who aren’t as scrupulous, but the majority are extremely careful about handing out strong painkillers. It’s a different situation for rich and famous people, but with regular people it is generally NOT easy to get your hands on narcotics because they are very tightly regulated.
Having a bad reaction to certain narcotics doesn’t mean that it’s a common reaction or that the medication is bad and dangerous for everyone. I throw up whenever I take oral antibiotics but that doesn’t mean they’re dangerous and I should throw them away and not take them. It means I find a different antibiotic that I don’t have such an adverse reaction to. I don’t feel the slightest bit high or drowsy when I take opiates. A couple will make me nauseous, but everyone has drugs they tolerate better than others.
People just have no idea what it’s like for people with chronic pain. Just because they gave you narcotics to take after an operation doesn’t mean they’re easy to get or they’re giving them out carelessly.
And believe me if you were actually not breathing from tramadol, then you would’ve passed out pretty quickly. People don’t stop breath and then sit around thinking “I’m not breathing”. They start turning blue and frantically try to start breathing. Do certain narcotics depress breathing? Absolutely. It’s one of the main reasons drs/nurses have to be careful about morphine and morphine derivatives. But tramadol is not even a class E med. It’s not in the same class of meds as percocet or oxy. And I seriously doubt a dr gave you oxycontin for a c-section as that’s a long acting med designed for chronic pain, not acute. It’s not effective for acute pain because it has to build up in the bloodstream. He/she most likely gave you oxycodone.
It’s so, so depressing to me to read the ignorant things people say. Insulin and certain heart meds can kill people 1000% faster than pain meds.
Jess- I said I wouldn’t comment again but saw this. You should really come back & apologize to these people.
You are not playing nice in this sandbox.
It’s not okay to tell people what doctors gave them. It’s not okay to tell people they were breathing when they felt like they weren’t.
How dare you?! “It’s not effective for acute pain because it has to build up in the bloodstream. He/she most likely gave you oxycodone.”
Yeah- I had a C-section too and guess what?! They put you on pain meds for weeks & weeks. It’s not acute pain meds, it’s a build up. They tell you to take it every 4 hours before the pain kicks in. I was on it for weeks.
Go sit down, have some tea and realize that you could actually learn from others here who have obviously experienced things you never have rather then telling them that their own life experiences probably didn’t happen.
The actual amount prescribed is not up to the pharmaceutical industry – that is determined by the physician. Too often, physicians just scribble a scrip and done, without thinking of consequences.
Actually, that’s incorrect. The DEA and federal regulations govern how much of certain meds can be prescribed by doctors at any one time.
For instance, I can’t get more than a 30 day supply of a long acting narcotic, and that prescription cannot be refilled by phone or fax. I am required to present a prescription with a hard signature from my doctor in order to get that med refilled every month.
I’m hearing what you are all saying. I am also a chronic pain sufferer (scoliosis, disk degeneration, nerve damage, arthritis). I take issue with being called ignorant but whatever, you don’t know me.
I do not see opioids as a solution to chronic pain. Pain management is a whole lifestyle and for me it includes physical therapy, yoga, acupuncture, stress management etc etc.
I’m not trying to demonize any person in pain, no matter what their choices are. I know that daily pain can feel like staring into hellish abyss and I don’t judge anyone for how they deal with it.
I’m not mad at the people who make the medicines who help so many sufferers. I AM mad at the industry that pushes pills. Maybe you haven’t experienced it, but many people have experienced having a prescription thrown at them as a solution, and I have been pushed to take many drugs that I had to adamantly resist. There is absolutely a problem in the pharmaceutical industry. Studies are showing that there is a link between prescription opioids and the current herion epidemic. Excellent doctors are careful, as some of you described. Many more are not.
Mental health is also often addressed with “here, take these pills” with no follow-up or therapy. If you haven’t experienced this you are lucky.
What I said wasn’t meant as a personal attack on any one person or Doctor, sorry if it sounded that way.
Yes, after my c-section I had a huge jar of OxyContin. I took 1 and was then paranoid about how many I had left. I finally took them to the local pharmacy to get rid of them.
Don’t lump all doctors together. The OBs I know would NOT give Oxycontin as a first line drug, especially since they want to encourage breastfeeding. Either you had a really rough post-op course or your OB did not have the best judgment.
I agree doctors should be better trained in addiction medicine. The road to this mess, by the way, was the movement to get pain recognized as a “fifth vital sign”, which was really well-intentioned but physicians were pressured and even in some cases told it was an assault on patients not to treat their pain adequately. Now we have a huge epidemic on our hands. I’m not sure buprenorphine is the solution. All of the most addictive pain meds out there were supposedly developed to treat addiction to lower potency narcotics. Since pain is subjective, there’s no good test to identify legitimate pain, and patient can have terrible pain and be addicts as well, which is a really bad scenario. It’s really hard for doctors to do a good job of helping these patients. Some of them are running for-profit “pill-mills” true, but there are others who would really like to help their patients.
Also, please the relationship with the doctor is a two-way street. If a prescribed drug gives you side effects, talk to the doctor about changing it, and why on earth would you keep refilling it?
I agree that there is a huge abuse of all types of medications. Medications are over-prescribed to be sure. But medications are also necessary and life saving. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.
I myself am a recovering prescription pill addict. I was addicted to benzos (xanax, valium, klonopin etc.) and I have a theory about his death. Most addicts that are headed to treatment will take as much of their preferred drug as possible before they leave for rehab and get totally wasted b/c they think it might be their last time. This can easily result in an OD. If the reports about him going to rehab the next day are true, I believe this may have happened. My heart aches for him. This is so sad.
Many hugs out to you Skipper!!! I am so glad you are not in your active addiction. Sharing these stories help.
I thought that same exact thing when I heard this story about Prince. You chase that last high and try to make it the best. If I was never going to ice-cream again I’d eat a couple gallons before stopping forever…..
Congratulations on your recovery Skipper… I’m currently living in hell because my husband of 15 years is addicted to pills. I’m honestly scared sh*tless because I don’t know him anymore and the problem is scary and overwhelming. I feel like the man I knew is dead already. Opiates. Pain Killers. They’ve mutated him into someone else, someone I don’t like at all. And for the record, he never did get a pain prescription. Cell tower industry job; a tower climber. Worked long hours, far from home, highly strenuous work. They take pills to “keep going”. They seem to all be hooked in that job. That’s where he picked it up. And now he’s… well he’s very sick. Very very sick. He quit the job and came home but it didn’t change anything. He can’t stop. I can see it in his face: he’s scared. He knows he’s in real trouble. He’s been a drinker in the past; he’s played around with all sorts of things when he was younger. But it was never something he couldn’t walk away from. Until this. Pill addiction is breaking him, breaking us, breaking everything we’ve built together. It’s a nightmare.
Anyway as to your comment – YES, absolutely. When my husband knows or thinks he’s about to be “cut off”, he will “binge” on pills. This is very common. I also thought about that when I read about Prince planning treatment, and then dying of what was probably an overdose when he was presumably on the verge of treatment. First thing I thought of: “I bet he went on a bender and OD’d”. Nothing but tragic.
Jem- I am so sorry this is happening to you & your loved ones. I hope your story helps someone today not take a pill or think about their addiction and how it’s affecting themselves & loved ones.
I wanted you to know that no matter how bad it gets there are people out there that share your story and are there if you want/need help & support. If you feel alone, you are not. If your husband feels alone, he is not. Unfortunately there are many people who share your story. Many have gotten clean and use their stories & experience to help others. They like to help others just to help & keep themselves clean.
If you want there are people out there who would gladly lend a hand to you if you ever need or want it. A hand or just an ear. Luckily we can google addiction help in our area and numbers will pop up. 24 hours a day- the phone is there.Keeping hanging in there & taking care of yourself. Good thoughts your way….
Jem, when I was reading your words I felt like I was reading my husband’s thoughts. I was actively using for over 10 years and almost lost my life several times from it. My husband stood by me through the whole thing. Addiction is an ugly, selfish disease but I can say this: once your husband gets sober, really sober for an extended period of time you will see the man you fell in love with. I’ve been sober for almost two years and I feel like a completely different person. My husband tells me all the time how proud he is of me and what a different person I am now. I don’t feel like I’m the strong person in this situation at all. People like you and my husband are the ones that truly suffer. You have the strength and will that I admire. I wish you and your husband all the best. I am so sorry you are going through this but there is hope. xoxo
I’m sorry to hear that.
I would say out of all of the meds you have listed, clonazepam (Klonopin) in small doses (.025 x 1daily) would not be addicting even over a period of of a year. So I am guessing your doses were fairly high?
I am curious why your physician would have you on addicting levels of benzodiazepines without realizing that they were not helping with the problem? I certainly hope that your new physician looked into mood stabilizers instead for long term management of your anxiety.
GMA says Percocet was found in his system and his red blood cell count was extremely low.
The red cell count – would that be related to the Percocet, or something else entirely?
Low rbc, he could have actually had the flu, and not just the flu-like symptoms that go with an overdose. Or, that’s exactly it.
My dad has had several back surgeries, stemming from a truck falling on him at work, breaking his spine. I have a lot of mixed feelings about narcotic pain meds. They are a godsend for many, but can be a death sentence for others. I’ve seen what Oxycontin and the like can do for and to someone who both needs them for relief from pain, and who also has addiction issues. Doctors can’t really be held at fault for what equates to be just unfortunate genetic makeup. I wouldn’t wish pain, pill addiction, watching your loved ones nearly lose their life repeatedly due to overdosing, on anyone. I’m thankful he’s never sought heroin, but I understand why so many do.
Apparently his hemoglobin was dangerously low. Flu, not on its own, does not cause “dangerously low” hemoglobin levels. This is something that is usually present in patients with cancer or internal bleeding or kidney disease or medications that treat HIV or cancer. Flu alone would not cause a drastic and dangerous drop. Clearly he was already suffering from something serious and the whatever drugs he used to manage his pain combined with a near-fatal overdose taxed his heart = fatality.
All I can say is that I will love him forever and his music has, and will continue to be, a huge part of my life.
I’ve been reading these stories as they’ve come out over the past few days, and it’s just so sad. It’s devastating to think he knew he had a problem and was seeking help, only to pass away JUST before that help came.
It’s only been 2 weeks since his passing and I still feel just as gutted and depressed as I did the day of…listening to his music 24/7 and just MISSING him. Somehow everything is so much more bleak knowing Prince isn’t out there somewhere side-eyeing folks and wearing fabulous outfits and making his music. How are we supposed to go on for the rest of our lives in a world without Prince in it??
I feel like a total crazy person because of the completely unexpected impact this has had on me. I didn’t know him, had never met him and probably would never have anyways – but I feel like a close family member has died and I can’t get a grip.
Here in the US, I had to a head cold. Easy to get meds, right?? WRONG!!! I had two seperate appointment BEFORE they would give me a freaking antibiotic!!!!!!!! Like Hell they just throw around these drugs. I was so sick by the time I went back 10 days later, I almost had to be hospitalized. I was coughing up massive green chunks when I would cough in the doctors office. I had a 8 week old at home, also. This was a few months ago.
I know some drugs are obviously necessary! Drugs save lives. People abuse drugs. Overall, you are responsible for what you put into your mouth. When your sick, or in the worst pin of your life, you don’t care as much because you want the pain to stop. I get life shattering migraines about 3-8 times a year. I had once once where if I just had the ‘kill me now button’ I would have used it! I can’t describe the pain. Vomiting from the pain only makes it that much worse. I have yet to find prescription migraine meds that work. When I get any sensation at all I’m getting one, I have a 10 minute window to pop some extra strength Excedrin migraine or I’ll be down for days! I know stress brings them on, so staying chill is important. If my neck muscles are sore, rapid change in weather…these two things seem to trigger them also. Not always easy. If it gets bad, no matter what time or what plans I had….I go home and take 3 extra strength Tylenol PM and pray to fall asleep ASAP. It’s the only thing that works. I literally have to knock myself out with meds. I suffered from cluster migraines two years ago. Almost 8 days of back to back migraines because the muscles were already knotted feeling it would just trigger another migraine the second I woke up.
If you don’t know bad pain, you can’t fault anyone for taking meds that their doctors give them. Work can be impossible. Carring for small children is impossible. Sometimes just getting out of bed feels impossible.
You had ONE experience. Please don’t discount all stories based on one experience in one place at one time.
You said- “People abuse drugs. Overall, you are responsible for what you put into your mouth. ” That’s really sweet of you. When they old man comes into my ER with a heart attack and I find out he used to smoke & eat fatty red meat with every meal I will say “well- you know, he is responsible for what he put into his body!” What about obese people??? People with skin cancer who didn’t put on sunscreen. Addiction is a disease and is fueled by our culture that supports getting addicted.
No one here has faulted people on pain taking meds they need. But I am trying to talk about a problem that does exist & what a solution might be. Not just saying “I don’t believe it since it’s not me & even if it is true it’s your fault”.
Compassion- it’s a nice trait. Try it on…
It must be a regional thing because EVERYONE has this issue in my area. They don’t hand out drugs. Not even antibiotics. I only listed one example but I could have given a few thousand.
Also, did you not read my post?! I stated when your in pain you just take the medicine. You want the pain to stop. While I think people are responsible for what they put in their mouths, sometimes you just don’t care. You want to feel human again. You want to feel normal. You have to work, someone had to put food on the table. Drugs are a necessary ‘evil’ in the world. I can’t believe you responded with such snark to my post. You must not have understood what I meant at all.
MC2, how dare you say I’m not compassionate?!?! You know nothing about me. Very judgemental and very untrue. I am one of the most caring, kind people. You know nothing about me, my family or my compassion. Your comment was filled with so much snark, and all directed toward the wrong person. I will pray for you.
HeyThere- you are totally right and I was being a huge a$$. I do apologize. I was sad about Prince being an addict, thinking about how it looks like he was finally ready for help…..then dies….ugh! And then I read these posts. I read some, got all worked up & had ideas in my mind & did not read your comment separate from the other posts. I read the one line in your comment after the other things in other posts & reacted before thinking.
I have known many addicts personally and was being overly defensive about these posts.
I wrote things in my anger & frustration & thought about them later. What a dummy I can be. I did exactly what I was angry about others doing.
When I re-read your post and saw your other words- not just the ones my brain saw before- I feel very bad. You are on the same page as me and I was so emotional I didn’t see it.
I am sorry you have dealt with pain and stories should be told. I appreciate yours.
I just re-read your last part on your comment and it is so true (pain from the body or mental) “If you don’t know bad pain, you can’t fault anyone for taking meds that their doctors give them. Work can be impossible. Carring for small children is impossible. Sometimes just getting out of bed feels impossible.”
I apologize again so very much. I got a pang in my head when I was going about my day that said “you should go back & read your comments”. Maybe your prayer worked. I thank you for that- truly.
Thank you for that. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts because I just didn’t understand where that was coming from. I am also a HUGE Prince fan. Nothing in his passing can take away the happy memories from childhood I have with his music. It pains me that he was so close to help and didn’t get it. I’m sorry we had a miscommunication! Have a good rest of the day!
I do not know if you can purchase this in the USA, but, I used to use, Fironal. They were double blue capsules, with codeine and caffeine in them. I used one in the beginning of my migraine and it stopped it dead in its tracks. They were a life safer for me for many years. You need a Dr. to prescribe them, I hope this helps.
Thank you! I wrote it down and will ask my doctor next time I go. I gave up on prescription medication for migraines a few years ago only because nothing worked! I really appreciate your response!!
Pharm companies can’t make money off dead people.
Well, they are killing them anyway.
On Staten Island, Rx pain deaths have overtaken deaths from street drugs. And often, when someone’s Oxys run out and people can’t get more, they start sniffing heroin. No one just shoots up one day. It’s sneaky and insidious. And it’s a huge epidemic in the US – all you have to do is out on the news to hear how opiates are killing more people every month.
First of all all this information is from a source not from actual authorities. Second of all the toxicology report is not back yet. Third this doctor even said he never spoke to Prince his son never spoke to Prince, they’ve never met Prince. . They spoke to someone that told the Dr. They supposedly represented Prince. So pardon me while I wait for toxicology report to come back and actually state if he had drugs in his system before I believe it. Out of respect that’s what we all should be doing as a nation.
Thank you for this, I’m with you 100%. I want some closure on his death but all these rumors and whispers only help sully his name and reputation, and I want to remember him for what he was, not what tabloids or bloggers want to use to get clicks. Still so sad.
We are living to older ages, surviving diseases and catastrophic accidents and living with chronic pain. Medication will always be a part of that. What we need to stop is the stigma of being an opioid addict. People need help to get off of those meds, they can’t do it by themselves. Some people need the pain meds to get through the day. It’s the same as needing daily meds for for any malady. We have to stop judging people and try to help them be healthy on or off medication. If Prince died as a result of an addiction to pain meds that he was hiding or trying to deal with alone, that is just super sad. We understood he was very private but I hate to think he was so alone while he was loved by millions.
And now people are going to act like this is a moral failing on his part.
I’ve been addicted to percocet. Didn’t “abuse” it, didn’t take any more than I was prescribed. Two weeks taking less than the prescription dose, and bam. Addicted. Not “dependent” or any other weasel-words: full-blown addiction. I didn’t /enjoy/ taking it, but it was that or not sleep, and the craving was well-nigh unbearable.
Prescription opiates are incredibly dangerous. The drug companies have a vested interest in propaganda that says anyone who gets addicted to their opiates was “abusing” them, but that’s a lie.
Opiate prescription overdose is the #1 accidental killer in the U.S. Ahead of car accidents, ahead of any other kind of drug overdose. And while recreational abuse is a big problem, so is overdose by people who were taking these dangerous drugs legitimately and forgot they’d already taken their dose (opiates wreak havoc with memory), or who take another pill hoping this one will actually do something about the pain.
Opiates aren’t just dangerous and hugely addictive; in the long -term, people build up a resistance to them. And often, it’s not just a resistance — taking opiates for the long term often causes people more pain than they would be without the drugs. It happened to me, and that was with the relatively mild Tramadol. Which I also got addicted to. The withdrawal from that took nearly a year, but it was worth it for lessening my pain and especially for getting myself back. I can’t remember much of about 4 years of my life because drugs doctors prescribed me made me not be there for them.
Anyway, I’m dreading the condemnation that’s going to be visited on Prince now. He doesn’t deserve it in the least.