Who Is Andrew Kornfeld? Pre-Med Student from Addiction Treatment Program Called 911 After Finding Prince Dead
Andrew Kornfeld called 911 from Prince's estate on the morning the singer was found unresponsive, his attorney says
But who is Andrew Kornfeld and what was he doing in Prince’s home?
Kornfeld is a pre-med student in his 20s, who was sent to Minnesota by his father, Dr. Howard Kornfeld, to talk to Prince about addiction to prescription painkillers, his family’s attorney William Mauzy said during a press conference on Wednesday.
According to Mauzy, Dr. Kornfeld, was contacted by Prince’s representatives on April 20 about an emergency addiction treatment plan for the music legend. Dr. Kornfeld is the founder and medical director of Recovery Without Walls, an outpatient addiction clinic in California.
The call to Dr. Kornfeld came less than a week after he was reportedly administered a “save shot” after suffering an alleged overdose while flying home to Minneapolis.
The elder Kornfeld was not able to immediately fly to Minnesota, so he arranged for Prince to meet with a Minneapolis-area physician. He also put his son and colleague on a red-eye flight to Minnesota to meet with Prince as soon a possible. The doctor planned to fly to Minneapolis on April 22.
Andrew Kornfeld was carrying a starter dose of buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opiate addiction, Mauzy said. The drug, which goes by brand names Suboxone and Zubsolv, is considered a controlled substance – similar to narcotics like Percocet.
Prince was found dead on April 21 by staffers – the day that Andrew Kornfeld arrived at Paisley Park.
Kornfeld graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he studied both neuroscience and psychology, and works at Recovery Without Walls as a practice consultant, according to the program’s website. In addition, Kornfeld serves as a peer mentor to Recovery Without Walls patients. He often worked as a spokesman for the program, and convinced patients that it would be in their best medical interest to participate, Mauzy said during Wednesday’s press conference.
“Andrew’s purpose in being there was to describe the Recovery Without Walls program to familiarize Prince with that,” Mauzy explained. “Prince could go there for pain management or any addiction issues. This is something that Andrew has done for years.”
Speaking only with Prince’s representatives, Kornfeld traveled to Minneapolis, arriving at Paisley Park around 9:30 a.m. on April 21. At that time, the Kornfelds learned that Prince had missed his appointment with the Minnesota doctor, Mauzy said.
“When he arrived, Prince was not available. [Staff] went looking for Prince, but couldn’t initially find him,” Mauzy said during the press conference. “The staff representatives apparently found him in an elevator unconscious. One of the staff members starting screaming.”
The attorney said that Kornfeld was the person who called 911 to describe an medical emergency at Paisley Park. A transcript of the call – released the day after the singer’s death – revealed that Kornfeld didn’t know Paisley Park’s address, telling the emergency dispatcher only that he was at “Prince’s house.”
“Yeah, we have um, yeah, we have um, so yea, um, the person is dead here,” the caller, now identified as Kornfeld, said.
When asked what happened to the victim, Andrew responded: “I don’t know, I don’t know.” He later told the dispatcher, “Yes, it’s Prince.”
Mauzy noted that Kornfeld and the others at the scene were taken into custody, interviewed, “and told it was a criminal investigation.”
Notably, Kornfeld had a small amount of the medication Suboxone – a drug with buprenorphine, a treatment for opioid addiction – in his possession while at Paisley Park.
Kornfeld planned to give the drug to the Minnesota doctor Prince was scheduled to meet with, and never administered any to the singer, Mauzy said.
“Those pills were taken into possession by the Carver County Sheriff,” Mauzy said Wednesday. “It is my belief that the [Minnesota law] providing immunity for people who make a 911 emergency calls – to receive immunity for any medications, any controlled substances on the scene – will provide statutory immunity to Andrew.”
The law says that any person who seeks medical assistance for someone who is overdosing on drugs may not be prosecuted for possession or sharing of controlled substances, in certain cases, according to the Associated Press.
Mauzy noted that Kornfeld was released by police and returned to California on the night of Prince’s death.
Stuart Gitlow, an addiction medication expert, told the AP that “it’s not routine for doctors to fly across the country to start people on buprenorphine.”
“If a physician feels that a patient is having an emergency, his obligation is to call an ambulance and get the patient to emergency personnel who can assess the situation – not to fly to the patient,” Gitlow added.
Recovery Without Walls, based in Mill Valley, California, uses pharmacology, paired with psychotherapy and nutritional support, to treat prescription medication management issues, among other things, according to the program’s website. Dr. Howard Kornfeld holds a degree from Northwestern University School of Medicine, and serves as a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction medicine.
“He is particularly skilled in the assessment and treatment of opiate and other chemical dependencies, chronic pain and problems with alcohol,” the Recovery Without Walls website says.
Prince’s cause of death has yet to be revealed but is being investigated as a possible drug overdose, The Associated Press reported last week. The Drug Enforcement Administration is aiding the county sheriff in Prince’s death investigation.