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. A law enforcement official on Thursday confirmed to the Associated Press that, based on autopsy tests, Prince died of an opioid overdose.
Prince had been reportedly trying to check into drug abuse treatment but couldn’t get an appointment before he died. Even a rich celebrity not gaining access to care in time demonstrates how difficult it can be to get into treatment.
According to 2014 federal data, at least 89% 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, of 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, 1 in 5 Americans has a family member who is addicted to prescription painkillers, and more than 4 in 10 Americans personally know someone who’s addicted. And in 2014, overdose deaths reached a record high.