Update: DEA joins Prince death investigation, as wait for autopsy results continues

With autopsy results – including a toxicology report – still pending, rumors about Prince and possible drug use continue to build.
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With autopsy results – including a toxicology report – still pending, rumors about Prince and possible drug use continue to build.

Multiple media reports over the past two weeks have suggested the iconic artist used painkillers, and that they may have played a role in his death (more on that below).

But authorities are still investigating, and like everyone else, are waiting for autopsy results that will determine what caused the 57-year-old's death.

DEA and US Attorney's Office join investigation

On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said both it and the Drug Enforcement Agency are joining the Carver County Sheriff's Office in the investigation, describing it as a partnership.

A spokesperson told GoMN in a statement that both agencies "are able to augment this local investigation," because of the federal resources and "expertise" regarding prescription drug diversion. They have no further comment, saying it's still an open investigation.

Jason Kamerud of the Carver County Sheriff's Office told GoMN they asked for the two agencies' help, and they "agreed to provide resources and expertise in our investigation."

Kamerud Tuesday would not confirm that drugs might have played a role in Prince's death, saying investigators do not have the medical examiner's report or toxicology information.

The autopsy on Prince's body was conducted on April 22, with results expected to take a few weeks. Officials did say there was no sign of suicide or trauma, and Prince did not receive Narcan – a drug used to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose – from first responders the morning he died.

A 'life-saving mission'

The Star Tribune reports Prince's representatives contacted Dr. Howard Kornfeld – a leader in opioid addiction treatment in California – the night before he died, hoping he could help break the artist's painkiller addiction.

William Mauzy, a Minneapolis attorney who represents Kornfeld, told reporters during a news conference Wednesday that Dr. Kornfeld set up a "life-saving mission" to help the artist.

According to Mauzy:

Dr. Kornfeld arranged for Prince to meet with a doctor in Minnesota on April 21 – the morning Prince died. But Prince didn't show up.

Dr. Kornfeld, who planned to come to Minnesota that Friday (April 22), sent his son – Andrew Kornfeld, a staff member at the treatment clinic – to meet with Prince on Thursday morning (April 21).

Andrew Kornfeld was planning to explain the treatment program to Prince so he could go to California for "pain management and any addiction issues."

Prince was found unresponsive in an elevator not long after Andrew Kornfeld got to Paisley Park, and he was the one to call 911.

Mauzy told reporters he couldn't comment on and doesn't know if Prince was addicted to painkillers, noting Dr. Howard Kornfeld was never able to speak to or meet Prince prior to his death.

Prince's representation had set up the meeting, and Prince was aware of the intervention, Mauzy confirmed.

Other reports of drug abuse

This isn't the first report of Prince's now-rumored drug problems.

In the days following his death, outlets from The Associated Press to celebrity gossip blogs have cited sources who suggested Prince abused painkillers, including Percocet, which he reportedly took because of a bad hip.

Media reports, citing anonymous sources close to the investigation, have suggested police are looking into whether a doctor prescribed the drugs to Prince in the weeks before he died, and if those drugs resulted in an overdose.

And 911 call information released Tuesday by the Carver County Sheriff's Office shows at least one person was concerned about a cocaine habit. The person, who lived in Germany, called 911 in 2011 to say that in 2010, Prince told her he had a cocaine habit he couldn't control and she should report it.

The Carver County Sheriff's Office told GoMN that the case was closed because it related to activities alleged to have occurred in Germany in 2010, with NBC News noting there wasn't any indication Prince was "in immediate danger."

GoMN has reached out to Prince's representation, as well as Kornfeld's addiction treatment clinic, for more information on these reports.

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