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The Addiction Epidemic: Another Victim Succumbs to Painkillers

Marion Charatan

Posted on May 5, 2016 17:45

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Drugs don't discriminate; whether legally or illegally obtained. The beloved musician/performer Prince is apparently the latest victim of opiates.

Another tragic death from opiates….The legendary singer Prince succumbed to the effects of drug poisoning on April 21. Rumors are swirling around about what the 57 year old artist used and why he used. Was it for the pain associated with his wild stage antics? Maybe not solely. CNN reported that a former attorney for two of Prince's dead siblings said his family told him the musician had a long term addiction to Percocet.

Now, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the DEA are coordinating with investigators led by the Carver County Sheriff's Office in Prince’s local jurisdiction. There is a suspicion of prescription drug diversion, federal prosecutors in Minneapolis said.

The last I read, Prince’s people had sought help from an expert  Dr. Howard Kornfeld, an opioid addiction specialist, the day before the entertainer died. The doctor sent his son Andrew to Paisley Park, Prince’s home, to prep him for admission into a treatment center. There is talk that the son brought along buprenorphine (Suboxone)- a controlled substance used to treat addiction—for Prince. That is an usual method of delivery; highly irregular. Investigators will have to sort all this out. Prince’s April 22 autopsy allegedly showed Percocet in the singer's system. Investigators now have Andrew Kornfeld in custody and will question him. However, he could be immune to prosecution under the ‘Good Samaritan law,’for the pre-Med student was the person who called 911. It is still up-in-the-air if his physician father will face charges.   

The bottom line is that TOO many people, young and old, famous and unknown, multimillionaires or homeless, die from drug addiction.

Addiction to opioids like heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers affects every socioeconomic group. It is estimated between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide. Over 2 million people in the United States suffered from disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 became addicted to heroin. The consequences of drug abuse are relentless. Deaths from heroin have quadrupled since 1999. There are a myriad of complex reasons why this is happening but one thing is certain: doctors MUST minimize prescribing these medications unless in extreme medical circumstances and there has to be a better system to crosscheck which patients get what med. It is too easy to double dip or forge prescriptions. There will be many more deaths like Prince’s if the brakes aren’t applied strongly.

Perhaps one of Prince’s greater legacies, besides his music, is to throw the spotlight glaringly once more on the increasingly dangerous trend of drug addiction. Other artists like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Dinah Washington and too many more to name, also died from addiction. It is a fine line. People do have a genuine need to escape physical pain but that immediate escape can lead to a downward spiral very quickly. ‘If it’s strong enough to help you it’s strong enough to hurt you;’ permanently. Let’s get more regulation and intervention into place; fast.     

Marion Charatan

Posted on May 5, 2016 17:45

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Source: US Magazine
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Prince's autopsy allegedly found that he had Percocet in his system at the time of his Thursday, April 21, death, according...

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