Prince’s death casts spotlight on anti-opioid addiction drug

 It was an intervention that never happened, and it featured two stars: Prince, an adored music icon, and buprenorphine, an obscure hailed as a revolutionary tool to fight opioid .


Prince died before the first scene, when a drug-addiction consultant, a physician and Prince’s associates converged on the star’s Paisley Park home near Minneapolis, based on official accounts. The plot twist? The consultant, of the Recovery Without Walls clinic in Mill Valley, Calif., was carrying a small amount of buprenorphine. Nicknamed “bupe,” it is also known by several commercial names including Suboxone.


Dr. Howard Kornfeld, the founder of the Recovery Without Walls clinic (and Andrew’s father) is a leading proponent of the drug as a means of curbing opioid addiction. Dr. Kornfeld and his son declined to be interviewed.


But their attorney, William Mauzy, told reporters following Prince’s April 21 death that Andrew Kornfeld had flown to Minneapolis in hopes of encouraging Prince to check himself into the Mill Valley rehabilitation center and that the buprenorphine he was carrying was intended to be turned over to a Minneapolis physician to be administered to the late pop star. According to Mauzy, the medication was not administered and was later taken into possession by sheriff’s investigators.


While the cause of Prince’s death in the early-morning hours of April 21 is still being investigated, both state and federal authorities are trying to determine if prescription drugs played any role. That probe in turn has shined a spotlight on buprenorphine.




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