Doctor denies role in drugs for Prince

Published 19 April 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- A doctor who saw Prince in the days before he died had prescribed the opioid painkiller oxycodone under the name of Prince's friend to protect the musician's privacy, according to court documents unsealed Monday that revealed nothing about how the pop superstar got the fentanyl that actually killed him.

Search warrants unsealed Monday by investigators looking into Prince's overdose death nearly a year ago said Dr. Michael Schulenberg prescribed opioids to Prince but put them in the name of Prince confidant Kirk Johnson.

However, Schulenberg is disputing that he ever prescribed opioids to Prince or to anyone else with the intent they be given to Prince.

Schulenberg's attorney, Amy Conners, said in a statement Monday that Schulenberg didn't prescribe opioids either directly or indirectly to Prince.

An autopsy found Prince, 57, died after taking fentanyl. He was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park home on April 21.

The affidavits and search warrants were unsealed in Carver County District Court as the yearlong investigation into Prince's death continues. The documents show authorities searched Paisley Park, cellphone records of Prince's associates, and Prince's email accounts to try to determine how he got the fentanyl, a synthetic opioid drug 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Just six days earlier, Prince fell ill on a plane and made an emergency stop in Illinois as he was returning home from a concert in Atlanta. First responders revived him with two doses of a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

A search of Prince's home yielded numerous pills in various containers. Some were in prescription bottles for Kirk Johnson, Prince's longtime friend and associate. Some pills in other bottles were marked "Watson 853," a label used for a drug that is a mix of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, another opioid painkiller. Last August, an official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that at least one of those pills tested positive for fentanyl, meaning the pill was counterfeit and obtained illegally. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

The documents say some of the drugs in Prince's bedroom were in a suitcase with the name "Peter Bravestrong" on it. Police believe Bravestrong was an alias that Prince used when he traveled. The suitcase also contained lyrics for the song "U Got the Look" that appeared to be in Prince's handwriting.

A Section on 04/18/2017