Some of the pills seized from Prince’s Paisley Park estate shortly after his death in April were mislabeled as hydrocodone, but actually contained fentanyl — the drug responsible for the singer’s death — according to a source close to the investigation.
The official, who spoke to the Associated Press on Sunday on the condition the they remain anonymous because of the ongoing investigation, said nearly two dozen pills found in one Aleve bottle were falsely labeled as “Watson 385,” which is a stamp used to identify pills containing a mix of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. However, the source revealed that at least one of the pills in the Aleve bottle tested positive for fentanyl — a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
This latest revelation gives more insight into what may have caused Prince’s overdose. There are two most likely possibilities: Either a pharmaceutical manufacturer mislabeled the pills, or the pills were illegally manufactured and obtained illegally.
Prince was found unresponsive in his Minnesota estate’s elevator on April 21. Autopsy results released in June indicated that the 57-year-old musician dies of an accidental fentanyl overdose. Officials say the “Purple Rain” had no prescription for any controlled substances in the state of Minnesota in the 12 months prior to his death.
Authorities are still investigating how Prince obtained the drugs.
Fentanyl has been responsible for a surge in overdose deaths in some parts of the country. When it is made into counterfeit pills, users do not always know they are taking fentanyl, which increases their risk of accidentally overdosing, such as may have happened with the legendary late-singer.