Nearly a year later, details are still coming out surrounding the mysterious circumstances resulting in Prince’s death. The latest come from newly unsealed search warrants revealing the singer’s doctor prescribed pills to an alternate name for Prince. They also reveal that an avalanche of medications was discovered throughout Paisley Park, and controlled substances were discovered as well.
As reported by USA Today, CVS prescription bottles for Kirk Johnson — who has worked with Prince since the 80s — were found in Prince’s dressing room and mirror room, each containing different controlled substances. Over 100 white capsules labeled “Watson 853” were found in Aleve and Bayer bottles. Watson 853 is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone and is considered a narcotic. The search warrant states that there was a “sizable amount of narcotic medications located inside Paisley Park,” in places including Prince’s bedroom, wardrobe, and laundry room.
Prince’s toxicology screening revealed he had a lethal dose of Fentanyl in his body when he died, but investigators couldn’t find any prescriptions in his name. However, they found a prescription for Johnson of oxycodone from Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg, who was at Paisley Park the day Prince died. It was then that Dr. Schulenberg admitted to authorities that he’d prescribed the oxycodone responsible for Prince’s overdose on April 14, 2016, which forced his plane into an emergency landing when he was returning from a show in Atlanta.
Why were there so many prescriptions for pills in other people’s names around Prince’s home? According to Dr. Schulenberg, he was trying to protect Prince’s privacy. And Johnson seemed to be in on the ruse. He picked up medication for Prince on April 20, one day before the singer’s death, but claimed that was the first time he’d ever done something like that. After Prince’s death, investigators found a suitcase with numerous prescription bottles in Johnson’s name — but none of them were prescribed by Dr. Schulenberg.
However, Dr. Schulenberg had prescribed numerous pills that were hidden in other bottles. A bottle labeled “Vitamin D” held ondansetron hydrochloride, while another labeled ondansetron was actually acetaminophen and oxycodone hydrochloride. Dr. Schulenberg prescribed those pills to Johnson on April 7.
Dr. Schulenberg is just the latest in a long line of doctors making questionable decisions in their treatment of celebrities and their illnesses. Back in June of 2009, Dr. Conrad Murray overprescribed a cocktail of medications to help Michael Jackson sleep, but it led to his death. Joan Rivers passed in September of 2014 after a medical clinic failed to respond to drops in Rivers’s vital signs during a minor throat procedure. Both Anna Nicole Smith and Heath Ledger overdosed on prescription drugs, and while Smith’s psychiatrist was arrested for overprescribing, Ledger’s doctors were exonerated of any wrongdoing. A DEA investigation determined that “the doctors in question had prescribed Ledger other medications — not the pills that killed him.”
Prince was 57 when he died from an accidental overdose on April 21, 2017.
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