Category Archives: Group on Addiction

What If Prince Had a Waivered Family Physician?

By Matthew Martin, PhD and the members of the STFM Group on Addictions

A Prince in Crisis

On April 21, at 9:43 am, the Carver County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call requesting that paramedics be sent to Paisley Park. The caller initially told the dispatcher that an unidentified person at the home was unconscious, then moments later said he was dead, and finally identified the person as Prince. The caller was Andrew Kornfeld, the son of Howard Kornfeld, MD, an addiction medicine specialist from Mill Valley, CA. Andrew, a pre-med student, had flown to Minneapolis with buprenorphine that morning to devise a treatment plan for opioid addiction. Emergency responders tried to revive the musician but later pronounced him dead at 10:07 am.

On April 20, the day before, Prince’s representatives contacted Dr Kornfeld, who agreed to see Prince later that week. Dr Michael Schulenberg, a family physician in Minneapolis, saw Prince on April 7 and April 20 apparently for opioid withdrawal. However, Dr Schulenberg is not a waivered physician and thus could not prescribe buprenorphine. If he had, perhaps Prince would now be recovering in a comfortable treatment center in California receiving state-of-the-art medical care. He would likely be receiving buprenorphine treatment to prevent opioid withdrawals. Recent autopsy results show that Prince died from an accidental overdose of Fentanyl.

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