Was Prince's Alleged Opioid Addiction The Cause of His Early Death?

By Dorri Olds 04/25/16

A man claiming to be Prince's former drug dealer has gone public with allegations that the pop icon was majorly addicted to hydromorphone. 

Photo viaNorthfoto/Shutterstock

Fans are still reeling from the death of Prince Rogers Nelson. The autopsy results won’t be in for a few more weeks, but many are speculating that painkillers are to blame. Entertainment Tonight co-host Kevin Frazier said Friday that after a long career of performing, dancing and moving around on stage, Prince had been struggling to manage the pain in his hips and ankles. “The hip and ankle issues were a problem for him for so long, and for a man who loves to move and dance so much, it really bothered him,” said Frazier.

Prince’s long-time friend and ex-fiancée, singer Sheila E., told Good Morning America that Prince suffered from physical pain for years from “jumping down off risers” in his signature high-heeled boots. “He was in pain all the time, but he was a performer,” she said.

Six days before Prince’s death, his private plane made an emergency landing to rush him to a Moline, Illinois hospital. Reps for the musician initially blamed the flu, but according to TMZ, Prince had overdosed on Percocet and was saved by an injection or “save shot.” Members of his entourage told first responders that Prince had taken the prescribed pill for his chronic hip pain. The singer had hip replacement surgery in 2010.

Another clue is a claim made by "Doctor D," Prince's alleged former drug dealer, who told the Daily Mail that the music icon was "majorly addicted" to hydromorphone. Doctor D claimed to be Prince’s dealer from 1984 to 2008. “I first met Prince in 1984 while he was filming the movie Purple Rain,” he told the British publication, “and he was already majorly addicted to opiates. I didn’t hook him on drugs he was already a really heavy user.”

Doctor D went on to say that Prince was hooked on Dilaudid, a brand name for hydromorphone (a synthetic morphine-like narcotic) and would also keep a regular supply of fentanyl patches. As with all opioids, not only are these highly addicting, they can cause fatal respiratory depression.

In the days before his death, the musician made four trips to a Walgreens pharmacy, according to TMZ. Photos show him outside the store hours before he was found unresponsive in an elevator at his nearby home, the 65,000 square-foot, $10 million complex known as Paisley Park Studios.

Following Friday's autopsy, the singer was cremated and sent off in a private memorial service at Paisley Park. According to a statement issued by his publicist, the autopsy results will take "at least four weeks" to be released.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Dorri Olds is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day and several book anthologies. Find Dorri on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.