Prince Died From Counterfeit Vicodin, Did Not Knowingly Take Fentanyl

Prince performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in 2013

Prince died of a fentanyl overdose, not oxycodone.

Carver County Attorney Mark Metz announced Thursday that investigators had found no evidence to charge anyone in the case.

"Prince had no idea he was taking a counterfeit pill that could kill him", Carver County Attorney Mark Metz said in a news conference in Chaska, Minn., early Thursday afternoon. The office said it wouldn't comment further. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the federal case remains open.

Prosecutors say the counterfeit pills were exact imitations of real Vicodin.

Several prescription bottles bearing Johnson's name were found in Paisley Park after Prince's death.

A doctor who was accused of illegally prescribing a pain medication to Prince shortly before he died agreed Thursday to pay a fine as part of a civil settlement. According to one of the witnesses interviewed, Prince admitted to taking one to two "pain pills".

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation found Dr. Michael Shulenberg prescribed painkillers to an associate of Prince's knowing the painkillers would meant to be used by Prince.

A confidential toxicology report obtained by the AP in March showed high concentrations of fentanyl in the singer's blood, liver and stomach.

According to Metz, it appeared Prince thought he was taking Vicodin, not fantanyl.

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But following Prince's April 21, 2016 death at Paisley Park, federal search warrants disclosed that Schulenberg admitted to writing prescriptions for Percocet in Johnson's name, though he knew they were for Prince. Documents released by authorities past year paint a picture of a man struggling with an addiction to prescription opioids and withdrawal, and they also show there were efforts to get him help.

Conners said that Schulenberg affirmed he did not prescribe opiates to any patient with the intention that they be given to Prince.

Prince did not have any prescriptions for fentanyl.

"After he learned of Prince's addiction, he immediately worked to refer Prince to a treatment facility and to transfer care to a chemical dependency specialist", Conners said.

Despite an intensive law enforcement investigation, "there is no reliable evidence showing how Prince obtained the counterfeit Vicodin laced with fentanyl", or who was involved in procuring him those pills, Metz said. Some of those pills were later determined to be counterfeit, and state and federal authorities have been investigating the source of the fentanyl for almost two years.

No criminal charges will be brought in the accidental drug overdose death of Prince, federal prosecutors said today. In the context of a criminal investigation, a ‘target is a person who is linked by substantial evidence to the commission of a crime and who, in the prosecutors judgment, is likely to be charged.

Schulenberg has 30 days to settle the fine after federal prosecutors say he broke federal drug rules on April 14, 2016, when he filled out an oxycodone "in the name of an individual, knowing that the controlled substances were meant to be used by another individual".

The settlement notes that the agreement "is neither an admission of facts nor liability by Dr. Schulenberg".

No charges will be filed in the death.

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