Despite an intensive law enforcement investigation, "there is no reliable evidence showing how Prince obtained the counterfeit Vicodin laced with fentanyl", or who was involved in procuring him those pills, Metz said. Authorities found numerous pills in various containers stashed around Prince's home, including some counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl.
After searches, Metz said that Prince had bottles of pills marked with common commercial pain relief labels such as Bayer and Aleve and that the singer thought he was taking Vicodin - but was in fact taking the more potent fentanyl instead.
Shortly before the announcement about the charges on Thursday, however, it was reported by the Associated Press that a doctor who prescribed opioids to Prince-notably not the drugs responsible for his death-had reached a settlement in a federal civil case.
The week before, Schulenberg reportedly prescribed Percocet meant for Prince to his friend Kirk Johnson, which the doctor allegedly said was done to protect the singer's privacy. The concentration of fentanyl in Prince's blood was 67.8 micrograms per liter, which outside experts called "exceedingly high".
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Authorities do not know where Prince got the counterfeit pills.
"Doctors are trusted medical professionals and, in the midst of our opioid crisis, they must be part of the solution", U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker said in a statement. One previous collaborator released a song, "Deliverance", he had recorded with Prince about 10 years ago, prompting court action against the engineer, George Ian Boxill, who had released it.
The announcement comes just two days before the two-year anniversary of Prince's death on April 21.
On the night of April 14 to April 15, Prince passed out on a flight from Atlanta, and the private plane made an emergency stop in Moline, Illinois. An autopsy showed he died of an accidental fentanyl overdose. Andrew Kornfeld was carrying buprenorphine, a medication that can be used to help treat opioid addiction.
No criminal charges will be laid as the result of Prince's death, US prosecutors have confirmed. "Dr. Schulenberg has previously disclosed all information regarding his care and treatment of Prince to his employers, law enforcement, and regulatory authorities in the course of his complete cooperation with all related investigations". The Star Tribune first reported that pills marked as prescription painkillers seized at the death scene were found to contain fentanyl. Under the settlement, however, Schulenberg does not acknowledge any liability.
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