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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Prince: An Intervention Too Late

The world was saddened when they learn last month that the musical innovator and beloved musician Prince Rogers Nelson passed away. Even if you did not care for his music or his eclectic style, it is hard to deny that Prince revolutionized how music was made, Rolling Stone called Prince one of "the most influential artists of the rock & roll era." He is known for several achievements, including:
  • Selling Over 100 Million Records
  • Seven Grammy Awards
  • A Golden Globe Award
  • An Academy Award
Prince will be sorely missed, but many people can't help but find themselves asking, ‘how could Prince die at the age of 57?’ I mean, it is fair to say the Minneapolis born artist had access to the best doctors, he was not known to be sick in the time leading up to his death. The artist, while he did not appear to be ill on the surface, it has been reported that he was suffering from the disease of addiction. In the hours leading up to his death a man was on his way to Minnesota to meet with Prince to talk about an addiction treatment plan, The New York Times reports. Sadly, it would be an intervention that was unable to come to fruition.

It turns out that Prince had been suffering from pain for a number of years, which brought him to using pain medications in order to perform. He endured severe hip pain after years of toll taking performances, according to the article. He had hip surgery in the mid-2000s, after which he was given even more pain medication. While most of the artist’s friends were unaware that he had a problem with painkillers, a number of his close friends believe that Prince was also suffering from depression after the loss of a close friend and ex girlfriend in February.

Despite final toxicology results not yet being released, it relatively safe to say that painkillers had a hand in the star's premature death. His story is not unique to celebrities, nor to the average American; there are an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid painkillers as of 2012, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). And like Prince, the friends and families of addicts are often unaware that there was a problem until after a tragedy occurs.

What’s more, even when a problem is recognized, interventions come too late. It cannot be stressed enough; with addiction time is of the essence - especially with opioid addiction due to the drug type's potential for overdose.

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