The Associated Press has reported that Prince died of an opioid overdose, citing law enforcement. Suspicions of opioid abuse grew after reports of over-prescribing of drugs to the musician surfaced in the days after his death in April and the emergency landing his plane made due to Prince being unconscious just days before he died.
Opioid overdoses are nothing new. The CDC claims that deaths involving opioids have quadrupled since 1999 along with the sales of these prescription drugs. From 1999 to 2014 more than 165,000 people died from overdoses related to prescription opioids, over 14,000 in 2014 along with a reported 2 million Americans abusing or being dependent on the drug. The CDC also reports that over 1,000 people are treated every day in emergency rooms for misusing prescribed opioids.
Overdose deaths were highest among non-Hispanic white and American Indian males aged 25 to 54 years.
Common opioids are methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, most recognizably OxyContin and Vicodin.