Prince search warrants lay bare struggle with opioids
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Court documents unsealed in the investigation into Prince’s death paint a picture of a man struggling with an addiction to prescription opioids and withdrawal, with various pills stashed in bottles around the pop superstar’s suburban Minneapolis studio and estate.
But the search warrants and affidavits unsealed Monday shed no new light on how Prince got the fentanyl that killed him.
The documents were unsealed in Carver County District Court as the yearlong investigation into Prince’s death continues. They show authorities searched Paisley Park, cellphone records of Prince’s associates, and Prince’s email accounts to try to determine how he got the fentanyl, a synthetic opioid drug 50 times more powerful than heroin.
The documents don’t reveal answers to that question, but do provide the most details yet seen on Prince’s struggle with addiction to prescription opioids in the days before he died.
Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21. Just six days earlier, he passed out on a plane and had to be revived with two doses of a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
Associates at Paisley Park also told investigators that Prince was recently “going through withdrawals, which are believed to be the result of the abuse of prescription medication,” an affidavit said.
The documents unsealed Monday allege Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg, a family physician who saw the musician twice last April, told authorities he prescribed the opioid painkiller oxycodone to Prince but put it under the name of Prince’s bodyguard and close friend, Kirk Johnson, “for Prince’s privacy.,”
Schulenberg’s attorney, Amy Conners, disputed that. She said in a statement that Schulenberg “never directly prescribed opioids to Prince, nor did he ever prescribe opioids to any other person with the intent that they would be given to Prince.”
F. Clayton Tyler, Johnson’s attorney, released a statement saying that after reviewing the documents, “we believe that it is clear that Kirk Johnson did not secure nor supply the drugs which caused…