As Prince’s health decreased, the alarm grew in the inner circle

MINNEAPOLIS – Some of Prince's closest confidants had been increasingly alarmed by his health in the days leading up to his death and were trying to help him when he they realized that he had an addiction to opioids. However, none was able to give investigators the information they needed to determine where the musician obtained the fentanyl that killed him, according to research papers published Thursday.

Just before the second anniversary of Prince's death this weekend, prosecutors announced they would not file criminal charges in the case and the state's investigation was closed.

"They focused on trying to find out who provided that fentanyl, and we just do not know where it got it from," said the Carver County District Attorney. Mark Metz "Maybe we never know." … It's pretty clear from the evidence that he did not know, and the people around him did not know, that he was taking fentanyl. "

Metz said that Prince had suffered from pain for years and probably believed he was taking a common painkiller.

Prince was 57 years old when he was found alone and indifferent in an elevator in the Paisley Park campus. April 21, 2016. His death sparked a national torrent of mourning and sparked a joint investigation of Carver County and the authorities.

An autopsy discovered that he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Research materials, including documents, photos and videos, were posted online Thursday afternoon, several images show the body of the music superstar on the floor of his Paisley Park estate, near He is on his back, with his head on the ground and his eyes closed, his right hand is on his stomach and his left arm is on the floor.

These include interviews with Prince's inner circle. That included old friend and bodyguard Kirk Johnson, who told investigators that he had noticed that Prince "looked a little frail," but said he did not realize he had an opiate addiction until he pbaded out in a plane. a week before dying 19659010] "Everything started to make sense, only his behavior sometimes and the change of mood and I'm like oh, this is what, I think this is what is happening, that's why I took the initiative and said let's see to my doctor because you have not gone to the doctor, we're going to verify everything, "Johnson said, according to a transcript of an interview with researchers.

Johnson said after that episode, Prince canceled some concerts while his friends urged him to rest. Johnson also said that Prince "said he wanted to talk to someone" about his addiction.

Johnson asked his own doctor, Michael Todd Schulenberg, to see Prince on April 7, 2016. Schulenberg told the authorities that he gave Prince an IV; Authorities said he also prescribed Vitamin D and a medication for nausea, under the name of Johnson. Johnson called Schulenberg on April 14 and asked the doctor to prescribe a painkiller for Prince's hip. Schulenberg did it, again under the Johnson name, Metz said.

On the night of April 14 to April 15, Prince fainted on a flight home from Atlanta, and the private plane made an emergency stop in Moline, Illinois. The musician had to be revived with two doses of a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

A paramedic told a police detective that after the second injection of naloxone, Prince "let out a cry and woke up," according to research papers. He said that Prince told the paramedics: "I feel confused."

A nurse at the hospital where Prince was taken for monitoring told detectives he turned down routine overdose tests that would include blood and urine tests. When asked what he had taken, he did not say what it was, but "someone gave it to him to relax." Other documents say Prince said he took one or two pills.

The documents show that Johnson contacted Schulenberg. again on April 18, and expressed concern that Prince was struggling with opiates. At that time, Schulenberg told the researchers, Johnson apologized for asking the doctor to prescribe the previous badgesic.

A Prince's badistant told investigators that he had been unusually quiet and ill with the flu in the days leading up to his death. Meron Bekure said he saw Prince for the last time a day earlier, when he was going to take him to the doctor for a checkup, but that Prince told him he would go with Johnson.

That day, Schulenberg saw Prince and did some tests and prescribed other medications to help him. A urinalysis was positive for opiates. That same day, Paisley Park employees contacted California addiction specialist Dr. Howard Kornfeld. The doctor sent his son, Andrew, to Minnesota that night, and young Kornfeld was among those who found Prince's body. Andrew Kornfeld was wearing buprenorphine, a medication that can be used to help treat opiate addiction.

Andrew Kornfeld told investigators that Prince was still warm to the touch when they found him, but that rigor mortis had begun to establish itself. [19659020] The documents also show that Prince's closest confidants knew he was a private person and tried to respect that, with Johnson saying, "That's what bothers me because he's like man, how did he hide this so well?"

Metz said some of Prince's friends could have enabled him while trying to protect him.

"There is no doubt that the actions of individuals will be criticized, questioned and judged in the days and weeks to come," Metz said. "But the suspicions and insinuations are categorically insufficient to support any criminal accusation."

The US Attorney's office also said on Thursday that it had no credible evidence that could lead to federal criminal charges. A police official close to the investigation told The Associated Press that the federal investigation is now inactive unless new information emerges. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the federal case remains open.

But federal authorities announced that Schulenberg had agreed to pay $ 30,000 to settle a civil violation of the allegation that he illegally prescribed oxycodone opium for Prince on Johnson's behalf. Schulenberg admitted that there is no fact or responsibility in the agreement, which includes tighter control of its statute of limitations, and authorities said it is not the goal of a criminal investigation.

Oxycodone, the generic name of the active ingredient in OxyContin, was not listed as the cause of Prince's death. But it is part of a family of painkillers that drives the epidemic of addiction and overdose in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 2 million Americans abused or were addicted to prescription opioids, including oxycodone, in 2014.

A confidential toxicology report obtained by the PA in March showed high concentrations of fentanyl in the blood, liver and stomach from the singer. The concentration of fentanyl in Prince's blood was only 67.8 micrograms per liter, which experts called "excessively high".

Prince did not have a prescription for fentanyl.

Metz said that several pills were found in the Paisley Park complex after Prince died and it was determined that some were faked.

The clandestine market for counterfeit pain pills is energetic and can be very anonymous, said Carol Falkowski, executive director of Drug Abuse Dialogues, an advisory and training on drug abuse in Minnesota. organization. Buyers often do not know who they are dealing with or what is in the medicines they buy, he said.

The likelihood of people buying street or online painkillers that turn out to be fakes mixed with fentanyl is "extremely high," said Traci Green, an epidemiologist at Boston University Medical Center who focuses on the epidemic of opioids.

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Associated Press writers Steve Karnowski and Doug Glbad in Minneapolis, Ryan J. Foley in Des Moines, Iowa, and Tammy Webber in Chicago contributed to this report.

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Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com. More of his work is at: https://apnews.com/search/amy%20forliti.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material can not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.

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