Prince Death: The Deadly Drug That Killed a Musical Genius

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Fentanyl, a deadly, synthetic opioid responsible for the Prince death news that shocked the world, is becoming known as the “kill pill”.

When it comes to the deadly drug fentanyl, it takes only a 2 milligram dose to kill someone, which is equivalent to only a few grains of sand. While it was not reported how much fentanyl was found in the system of the adored musician, Prince Rogers Nelson, it was reported that it was enough to kill anyone, regardless of their size. The Prince death news reports, from which the world reeled over the loss of the talented and beloved 57-year-old musician, came on the heels of a surging trend of opioid overdose deaths that continues across the United States.

The rising number of fentanyl overdose  deaths has been extremely difficult to get under control because most people taking the deadly drug are not even aware of it. The majority of users believe they are taking a much less powerful drug, such as the commonly prescribed pain killer hydrocodone or even the illicit drug, heroin, which is also much weaker in potency. In the case of the Prince death, drugs found at the musician’s home included pills that were erroneously labeled as hydrocodone, but actually contained fentanyl.

These pills were most likely counterfeit, which has been a common outcome as of late, in many fentanyl overdose cases. Illicit drug dealers are also using fentanyl to cut heroin because it is cheaper than real heroin and, therefore, results in a greater yield, increasing profit margins. Heroin users assume they are purchasing typical doses of heroin and use the drug they obtain accordingly (accordingly for a drug addict anyway), which has also contributed to the skyrocketing opioid death trend.

Officials doubt that Prince was aware of what he was really taking before he died.  Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than hydrocodone, morphine, or heroin, so even an opioid user with a substantial tolerance, can easily fall victim to a fatal overdose on this drug.  Online searches for “fentanyl more addictive than morphine” will provide many facts about how lethal this drug is.

The Prince death news reports have brought awareness to this toxic and powerful “kill pill”. Here are some facts below found through online search results for fentanyl more addictive than morphine:

  • Fentanyl is a schedule II prescription drug typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. It can also be used to treat patients with chronic pain who have developed a tolerance to other opioid medications. In prescription form, it is known as Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze.
  • It is fairly cheap to produce, which is why it’s presence in illicit street drugs has increased. The National Drug Control Policy has reported that fentanyl is being pressed into pills that look like OxyContin, Xanax, hydrocodone and other prescription drugs that are in high demand on the streets, in addition to being used to cut heroin. Many unsuspecting illicit drug users may think they are getting one of the commonly prescribed pain pills mentioned above, only to risk a deadly overdose when they unknowingly ingest fentanyl. This deadly drug is taking illicit drug use to a whole new level of Russian roulette.
  • These counterfeit pills are sold on the streets and labeled as something far less powerful. Coverage on the Prince death from a CNN news report describes how it is even difficult for forensic scientists to tell the counterfeit pills apart from real ones by just looking at them that is how good counterfeiters have become at making these illicit drugs.
  • Nalaxone (Narcan) will work in fentanyl overdose cases, but extra doses will most likely be needed.
  • Fentanyl has the same effect on the body as heroin, only 50 times greater. It is 100 times stronger than morphine, and stronger than any other painkiller on the market. Where the Prince death occurred, in the state of Minnesota, drug overdose deaths have quadrupled in the last fifteen years in large part to fentanyl. Other states hit hardest by the illicit fentanyl epidemic include Ohio and Florida.

The fentanyl overdose problem is now a global threat. More can be read from searching “ is fentanyl more addictive than morphine” online, or by reading an article published by the DEA government website titled, Counterfeit Prescription Pills Containing Fentanyls: A Global Threat.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/26/health/prince-minnesota-fentanyl-counterfeit-pills/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkroll/2016/08/22/princes-death-from-fentanyl-may-have-been-due-to-counterfeit-generic-drugs/#507f7b692b17

http://drugfree.org/parent-blog/fentanyl-synthetic-opioids-5-things-need-know/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl