A secret toxicology report shows that late singer Prince did overdose on an extremely potent drug called fentanyl, and the amount detected in his bloodstream was “exceedingly high.”
The report obtained by AP on Monday shows concentrations of 67.8 micrograms of the drug per liter. Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate that is dozens of times stronger than morphine, and hundreds of time more potent than drugs like heroin. Death from overdose can occur at 58 micrograms/l.
Dr. Lewis Nelson said in a recent interview that the concentration found in Prince’s blood is “exceedingly high” even for a patient who routinely takes the drug for chronic pain.
- The report also revealed that the singer’s liver contained 450 micrograms of the drug per kilogram.
- By contrast, just 69 micrograms per kg could prove fatal.
- Prince died at the age 57 on April 21, 2016 at his home in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
Fentanyl Behind Many Fatalities
In June 2016, the initial toxicology report showed that he died from an overdose on fentanyl. One year later, court documents revealed that Prince had hidden other drugs at his home including opioids and vitamin bottles.
The opiate led to the death of singer Tom Petty, 66, in October 2017. Petty died from an accidental overdose too after he mixed fentanyl with several pain killers.
According to CDC, fentanyl is 80 times more addictive than morphine. The U.S. federal government labeled it as a Schedule II drug. Its legal uses include chronic pain and post-surgery pain management.
Addiction experts warn that using fentanyl to manage pain is not a good idea. The drug is so potent that doctors have to prescribe it in micrograms. It numbs pain in around five minutes, but the effect lasts only for an hour. Because of its highly addictive nature, fentanyl was behind numerous overdose deaths in the U.S. in the past few years.
Image Source: Flickr