Prince Opioid Overdose, It’s official: Prince died of an overdose from opioid painkillers, becoming the latest high-profile victim of America’s opioid epidemic.
Prince died unexpectedly at his home in Minnesota on April 21. According to the Associated Press, Prince died of an overdose from fentanyl, a highly potent opioid.
Prince had been reportedly trying to check in to drug abuse treatment but couldn’t get an appointment before he died. As my colleague Julia Belluz reported, that even a rich celebrity couldn’t access care in time demonstrates how difficult it can be to get into treatment. According to 2014 federal data, at least 89 percent of people who met the definition for a drug abuse disorder didn’t get treatment. Patients with drug abuse disorders also often complain of weeks- or months-long waiting periods for care.
The news of Prince’s overdose is absolutely tragic, but it’s also an issue that Americans are becoming more and more aware of. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, one in five Americans has a family member who’s addicted to prescription painkillers, and more than four in 10 Americans personally know someone who’s addicted. And in 2014, overdose deaths reached a record high, because of the increase in opioid deaths.