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Prince Had “Exceedingly High” Levels of Fentanyl in His Body When He Died, Toxicology Report Reveals

Prince, like Tom Petty, was another victim of the opioid epidemic.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14:  (Exclusive Coverage) Prince performs onstage at Warner Theatre on June 14, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Karrah Kobus/NPG Records via Getty Images)
Prince performs onstage at Warner Theatre on June 14, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Getty Images/Getty Images

As we approach the two-year anniversary of Prince’s death, new details are still emerging about what happened to the legendary musician. We already knew that Prince had died from an opioid overdose, specifically from the drug fentanyl, but a confidential toxicology report obtained by the Associated Press now confirms that Prince had what experts call “exceedingly high” levels of the drug in his system.

According to the report, the concentration of fentanyl in Prince’s blood at the time of his death was 67.8 micrograms per liter, and as AP notes, fatalities can occur in people whose blood levels contain anywhere from three to 58 micrograms per liter, depending on a person’s tolerance. Dr. Charles McKay, president of the American College of Medical Toxicology, told the wire service that the amount of fentanyl found in Prince’s stomach “suggest[s] Prince took the drug orally, while fentanyl in the blood and liver suggest it had some time to circulate before he died.”

Last week, Carver County attorney Mark Metz, who is handling the investigation into Prince’s death, released the autopsy report to Prince’s next-of-kin, who are exploring a possible civil lawsuit in the singer’s death, but opposed its public release. Metz’s office will determine whether any criminal charges are warranted related to Prince’s death “in the near future.”

Read more in Slate about Prince.