Prince’s Death Spotlights Opiate Addiction
In the final weeks before his death, Prince’s struggles with opiate addiction were spiraling out of control as he arranged to meet with Howard Kornfield, a prominent California doctor who specializes in treating addiction. Toxicology reports will not be available for several weeks, but law enforcement officials and investigators are exploring the probability that Prince died from an overdose and whether a doctor was prescribing him drugs in the week before his death. Prince had rescheduled concerts in the days before his death, citing illness.
The day before he died, Prince’s representatives reached out to Howard Kornfield to set up an initial meeting between the two, said Kornfield’s attorney, William Mauzy. Because Kornfield couldn’t leave right away, he sent his son, Andrew, who took a red eye flight that night. According to officials, it was Andrew Kornfield who called 911 the next morning after he and two staff members found Prince unresponsive in an elevator at his studio complex in Paisley Park. Prince was declared dead shortly after on April 21, 2016.
Dr. Howard Kornfield hoped to get Prince stabilized in Minnesota and then fly him to California to his addiction treatment center, Recovery Without Walls. Mauzy declared that Andrew Kornfield was carrying a small amount of buprenorphine, a long-acting opioid similar to methadone, which he planned to give to the Minnesota doctor who was scheduled to see Prince that day. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration are joining with local officials in investigating Prince’s death.
The Dangers of Opiate Addiction
Prince’s death is a tragic reminder of the importance of seeking addiction treatment for an opiate addiction as soon as possible. Addiction is a chronic, progressive and fatal disease if left untreated. With the appropriate treatment and support, recovery is possible. But left untreated, addiction is a deadly disease.
If there is even an inkling that you or a loved one may be suffering from addiction, it is essential that you reach out for help immediately. Opioids, primarily prescription painkillers and heroin, are the primary drugs associated with overdose deaths. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths, or 61% of all drug overdose deaths. The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include: methadone, oxycodone (e.g. OxyContin) and hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin).
Unfortunately, it is far too easy to become addicted to opiates. Millions of people turn to prescription painkillers to treat their health conditions, but millions more end up taking them for non-medical use. There are signs of opiate abuse and addiction that you should be aware of.
Reasons to Seek Help Now
What are some of the reasons to seek addiction help now?
1) Addiction is progressive: This means that over time, addiction gets worse, never better. The longer you abuse drugs and alcohol, the stronger your addiction becomes. Detoxing is never easy, but it will be easier today than in the future. The chemical changes that occur in your brain due to prolonged substance abuse make it nearly impossible to stop using on your own. This is not about willpower or good intentions; rather, addiction is a disease.
2) You can seek help at any point in your addiction: You do not have to wait until a catastrophic event happens. You hit bottom when you stop digging. Perhaps you have already experienced serious consequences, or maybe you have a lot of “yets.” Either way, the longer you remain in active addiction, the worse your consequences will become. You do not need to wait until you’re “sick enough” to seek treatment – if you are addicted to drugs and alcohol, the time to seek help is now.
3) It’s okay to not be 100% sure you want recovery: Treatment is a safe space for you to explore how much better your life can be without drugs and alcohol. Once you have finished detoxing and the haze of drugs and alcohol has lifted, your thinking will become much clearer. Rehab will provide you with the tools and support you need to stop using drugs and alcohol and begin a new life in recovery.
4) Addiction is a deadly disease: We cannot say it enough – this disease is taking lives each and every day. Each day that you are in active addiction, you are jeopardizing your health. This is not a scare tactic to get you into treatment; it is simply the unfortunate truth. There are more deaths, illness and disabilities attributed to substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition.
Recovery Is Possible
Recovery from addiction is possible. If you are questioning whether or not you have a substance abuse problem, reach out for help today. Talk to a loved one, a doctor or an addiction specialist about your concerns. If you are a loved one of an addict, help is available for you too. We urge you to seek help now.