Brow Beat

Prince Believed He Was Taking Vicodin, Not Fentanyl, Says Prosecutor in Death Investigation

Prince stands in front of a microphone, points toward the camera.
Prince performs onstage during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 19, 2013, in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

No criminal charges will be filed in the investigation into Prince’s death, Carver County attorney Mark Metz announced on Thursday. The announcement comes just weeks after a leaked toxicology report revealed that the singer had died with “exceedingly high” levels of the drug fentanyl in his body in April 2016. Metz said in a press conference that there is evidence that Prince believed he was taking regular Vicodin and was unaware that his pills contained fentanyl.

“Despite their extensive efforts, law enforcement was unable to determine the source of the counterfeit Vicodin laced with fentanyl,” he said. “Therefore, without probable cause and no identified subject, the Carver County attorney’s office cannot file any criminal charges involving the death of Prince. The fact that criminal charges are not brought certainly does not mean that some person or persons associated with Prince did not assist or enable Prince in obtaining the counterfeit Vicodin.”

Federal prosecutors also announced on Thursday that a Minnesota doctor who saw Prince shortly before he died agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil suit. The doctor, Michael T. Schulenberg, was accused of violating the Controlled Substances Act by prescribing opioid painkillers meant for Prince to one of Prince’s associates, instead.