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None of the pills found at Prince's Paisley Park estate had been prescribed to him, court records say

Prince performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in 2013. [Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]
Prince performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in 2013. [Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]
Published Apr. 17, 2017

Investigators found pills in several parts of Prince's Paisley Park estate outside Minneapolis after he died of an opioid overdose last year, but none of them had been prescribed to the pop star, according to court records released Monday.

Investigators also said Prince got painkillers through other people. The drugs found at the estate included oxycodone and a variety of non-painkiller drugs.

On Monday morning, officials in Carver County, Minn., unsealed search warrants that had been filed secretly last year as part of their ongoing investigation into the death of Prince Rogers Nelson, who was found collapsed in an elevator in his Chanhassen, Minn., estate on April 21, 2016. He was 57.

A medical examiner determined that Prince died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that doctors often prescribe for patients dealing with chronic pain from late-stage cancer and is also used as an anesthetic during heart surgery.

The newly unsealed records show that Prince's associates told investigators that he had been struggling with opioid abuse and sometimes went through withdrawals. Some of the pills in Prince's house were not in prescription bottles but in vitamin bottles, found in places including Prince's bedroom and a dressing room.

Shortly before his death, Prince had sought the help of a local physician as well as a California-based addiction treatment expert, Howard Kornfeld, who sent his son, Andrew, to evaluate Prince.

Andrew Kornfeld had arrived at the property with Prince's friend and head of security, Kirk Johnson, and Prince's assistant, Meron Bekure, when Prince's body was discovered.

"Andrew said he heard a scream and ran down the hall and observed Prince lying on his left side in the elevator," states one of the newly unsealed court records, which said that Prince lived at Paisley Park alone and without a security guard.

Johnson told investigators he didn't know Prince was addicted, according to the warrants, which note that Johnson had known Prince since the 1980s. He was also one of the few people with untrammeled access to Paisley Park, where "there was a sizable amount of narcotic medications located inside Paisley Park . in various pill containers throughout the residence," one warrant stated.

Johnson had picked up various non-opioid medications for Prince the day before the entertainer's death, and his name was found on some of the bottles in Prince's estate.

Investigators also said they took a backpack belonging to Andrew Kornfeld that contained prescription medications, contained in plastic bags and envelopes, that he didn't have a license to distribute. They included buprenorphine, a treatment drug for opiate addicts, and an anti-nausea suppository.

Kornfeld "admits he brought them of his own accord. He said he got them from his own medicine cabinet, but he denied he intended to use them," one newly unsealed record states. "He said he did not think about it, he just had them, and now admits it was not a very good idea."


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