Prince's Doctor Admitted He Prescribed Star Opioids Under False Name, Newly Released Documents Reveal
As the first anniversary of Prince's shocking death approaches, newly unsealed court documents reveal that a doctor admitted to prescribing the singer opioids under a false name
Dr. Michael Schulenberg said he prescribed Prince – whose April 21, 2016 death was ruled as an opioid overdose – Oxycodone under his bodyguard Kirk Johnson’s name in order to preserve his privacy, according to multiple search warrants executed last year.
At Paisley Park – the singer’s Minnesota compound – a suitcase labeled with the name tag “Peter Bravestrong” was found containing multiple pill bottles in Johnson’s name, according to the documents. The prescription bottles contained pills other than those listed. Bravestrong, witnesses said, was an alias Prince often used while traveling.
Johnson, a close confidante and aide who started working for Prince in the ’80s, said he was unaware the singer was addicted to pain medication, according to the documents. Witnesses, however, told authorities that Prince had recently been going through withdrawals from pain medication.
Johnson’s lawyer, F. Clayton Tyler, denied that Johnson played any role in actually procuring the opioids. “After reviewing the search warrants and affidavits released today, we believe that it is clear that Kirk Johnson did not secure nor supply the drugs which caused Prince’s death,” he said in a statement to PEOPLE.
In addition to the medication found in the suitcase, investigators also discovered opioids in multiple areas of Paisley Park and stored in containers other than pill vials, including vitamin bottles.
Prince, who was 57, died from a self-administered, accidental overdose of the drug Fentanyl – an extremely potent, synthetic opiate. He was found unresponsive in a Paisley Park elevator just one week after his private plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, after he fell unconscious during the flight.
At the airport, Prince was treated by paramedics who reportedly administered a shot of Narcan, usually used to treat overdoses from opioids.
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Schulenberg told authorities that he prescribed the Oxycodone to Prince on the same day as the plane landing. He asserted, however, that he only saw Prince twice: on April 7 and on the day before his death.
The warrants also reveal more details of Prince’s romance with protegé Judith Glory Hill, which she told authorities started in the fall of 2014. Hill said that she communicated with Prince over landline phone or an email under the name of the star’s former manager.