Unsealed search warrants reveal further details of Prince's drug use before death

Warrants detail how he obtained oxycodone under a friend's name for privacy.

ByABC News
April 17, 2017, 5:26 PM

— -- Unsealed search warrants in the death investigation of the singer Prince revealed today that he was prescribed oxycodone under a friend's name, Kirk Johnson, for privacy purposes.

The warrants, which were unsealed today and are from last spring and summer, were carried out by police after Prince's death almost a year ago, on April 21, 2016. Weeks later, the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in Minnesota said after an autopsy that he died from an accidental fentanyl overdose, which he "self-administered."

The newly unsealed documents state that Prince's famed Paisley Park home and studios, where he was discovered unresponsive, were searched, along with cellphone records and emails of the artist and his team, to determine where he got the fentanyl that resulted in his death, among other drugs he was taking at the time.

Though the warrants don't reveal the origin of the fentanyl, they name Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg as a prescriber of oxycodone for Prince and add that those prescriptions were in Johnson's name, not Prince's, for "privacy" reasons. Schulenberg was named in previous warrants and was present when Prince's body was discovered. Schulenberg told police that he met with Prince twice in the weeks before his death.

Another revelation from the paperwork is the sheer amount of opioids Prince was taking at the time.

"There was a sizable amount of narcotic medications located inside Paisley Park," one document reads. "Many of those areas where the pills were located would be places Prince would frequent, such as his bedroom and wardrobe/laundry room."

The pills were stored not in typical prescription bottles but in "various other containers such as vitamin bottles," a document states.

Police interviews with Prince's associates showed that he had a history of going through withdrawal.

In a statement, Schulenberg's attorney, Amy S. Conners, said in part, "Dr. Schulenberg has previously disclosed all information regarding his care and treatment of Prince to his former employer, law enforcement authorities and regulatory authorities in the course of his complete cooperation with the investigation of Prince’s death."

The statement added: "Dr. Schulenberg never directly prescribed opioids to Prince, nor did he ever prescribe opioids to any other person with the intent that they would be given to Prince."

In a separate statement, Johnson's lawyer, F. Clayton Tyler, said that after "reviewing the search warrants and affidavits released today, we believe that it is clear that Kirk Johnson did not secure nor supply the drugs which caused Prince’s death. There will be no further comment.”

Last week ABC News spoke to the Carver County Sheriff's Office, which said the investigation into Prince's death is "open and active."

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