Prince's death may be connected to opioid abuse, investigation suggests

Music legend Prince Rogers Nelson, more commonly known as Prince, died April 21. Since his death, a growing body of evidence suggests opioid medication may have played a role in the star's death, according to a CNN report.

Prince's representatives and those involved in the case have yet to announce an official cause of death for the singer. That said, the Office of the United States Attorneys and the Drug Enforcement Agency joined local investigators Wednesday and released a statement saying they will provide "federal resources and expertise about prescription drug diversion," CNN reports.

According to an unnamed law enforcement source, Prince was found with prescription opioid medication on him, and more was discovered in his Minnesota home. Valid prescriptions for the drugs found have yet to be discovered.

Prince's death shocked and saddened the world, but his plight is not altogether uncommon, according to a recent report from Kaiser Health News.

CDC data collected in 2013 and 2014 shows middle-aged Americans (between 45 and 64 years old) make up more than 40 percent of all drug overdose deaths in the nation.

Boston Medical Center epidemiologist Traci Green, PhD, explained to KHN how many drug overdose deaths among adults are actually accidental.

"We oftentimes see that the dose will increase with an individual over time or they might rotate or switch to another medication to experience pain relief," Dr. Green told KHN. "And so, at each rotation or change, there's a risk [of accidental overdose] because you're moving from one drug to another," she said."

Dr. Green also pointed out how middle-age adults are often more likely to die from an accidental overdose, because they are more likely to live alone.

Prince's autopsy was performed April 22. Results are still pending.



More articles on opioids:
Surgeon General calls for more robust physician training for opioid prescribing
Serious infections related to opioid abuse contribute to rise in hospitalizations
'West Wing' actress addresses opioid epidemic at White House press briefing

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