Prince– the enigmatic rocker and creative genius– collapsed at his home a few weeks ago and passed from this world into the next.
Initially, the cause of death was unclear. Now, as the stories come out, we learn that Prince was likely abusing prescription painkillers. Decades of jumping and dancing on stage in platform shoes had left the 57-year-old musician in chronic pain.
Another life lost to prescription opiate overdose.
This article in the New York Times talks about Prince’s clean lifestyle– no meat, alcohol, marijuana or other drugs– but legal prescription drugs were OK. People think that prescription drugs are safe because they’re legal. That’s not necessarily so. Painkillers build up in your body. There is an additive effect when you take too many pills, and this is how innocent people in pain die from legal drugs. Prince’s denial and secret struggle with addiction and his tragic death should be a wake up call regarding the dangers of prescription painkiller abuse. Ironically, if he had switched to medical marijuana for pain, he would still be alive.
In Arizona, more people die from prescription opiate overdose than from heroin overdose. Prince’s friends reached out for addiction treatment help too late. If you know someone who may be abusing prescription drugs, heroin, alcohol or other dangerous drugs, there are multiple hotlines and online resources.
Wake up, Arizona. People are dying.
[Image credit: Prince tribute mural in downtown Tucson by local artist Joe Pagac.]