In what still feels like shocking news months later, Prince died at his Paisley Park home on April 21. The Midwest Medical Examiner's office ruled the cause of death as an opioid overdose ("self administered fentanyl") on June 2, but a new Associated Press story alleges that the "Purple Rain" singer was taking counterfeit drugs and may not have known he was taking such strong medication.

Fentanyl, which the AP claims is "a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin," wasn't found in Prince's system during tests while he was still alive, according to an unnamed official. The official didn't specify what those tests were or why Prince was tested previously, but they did assert that this indicated he wasn't a longtime abuser of the drug. According to the AP, fentanyl is behind a surge in overdose deaths in parts of the U.S., and it may be due to undisclosed amounts of the drug in counterfeit pills.


An August 22 story in the Star Tribune asserts that no one could have survived the amount of fentanyl found in Prince's system — certainly not the pop legend, who weighed just 112 pounds at the time of his death. Both the DEA and the U.S. attorney's office in Minnesota are stepping up efforts to curb the illegal production of fentanyl-laced pills by drug traffickers in the hopes that it will save lives, the Star Tribune reports.

Though a wide variety of pills were found in Prince's home, and autopsy results found the anti-anxiety pill diazepam, the anesthetic lidocaine and opioid painkiller hydrocodone in his system in addition to the fentanyl, the AP reports that Prince held no prescriptions for any controlled substances in the state of Minnesota in the year before his death.

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