Atlanta Music Scene

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Prince overdosed on mislabeled pills

The official autopsy from Prince’s death revealed that he died from an accidental, self-administered dose of fentanyl.

On Sunday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that pills marked as hydrocodone – commonly known under the trade name Vicodin – actually contained fentanyl, a synthetic opioid described as being 100 times more powerful than morphine. The discovery indicates that Prince might not have known what, exactly, he was taking. Counterfeit fentanyl pills have led to such an increased number of accidental overdoses that it’s been declared a public health crisis .

A source told the newspaper that Prince, who was only 112 pounds at his death, had so much of the drug in his system, it would have killed anyone of any size.

“Sources with knowledge of the investigation have said that autopsy results also revealed the presence of lidocaine, alprazolam and Percocet,” the story also noted.

The June autopsy report released by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office did not indicate how Prince obtained the fentanyl that killed him.

The beloved musician, 57, was found dead in an elevator in his Paisley Park compound on April 21. A source familiar with the case told the Star-Tribune said that both the black shirt and pants Prince was wearing were on backward and his socks were inside-out.

A DEA spokesperson told the Star Tribune last week that the Prince investigation is still ongoing and “will be thorough.”

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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for Atlanta Music Scene blog on

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