Lawyer says Prince's half-brother told him Prince was addicted to Percocet decades ago
Day before he died, addiction specialist launched "life-saving mission," lawyer says
A former attorney for two of Prince’s dead siblings says they revealed Prince had an addiction to Percocet decades before his sudden death in April.
Prince’s half-brother, Duane Nelson, said he used to get the drug for Prince to help him come down after shows, Michael B. Padden said.
“Duane told me that he witnessed him taking the drugs and he also procured Percocet for him,” Padden said.
Nelson was adamant that Prince was in no way just a recreational user, Padden said. He started using the drug to help him deal with the rigors of performing. Another half-sibling, Lorna Nelson, confirmed Prince’s drug use but was not involved in getting drugs for him, Padden said. She died in 2006.
Duane Nelson worked for Prince at Paisley Park but was fired at some point and ended up suing his half-brother. Because the two siblings are dead, CNN could not independently confirm the lawyer’s account. The attorney said he last talked to Nelson socially in 2005. Nelson died in 2013.
The revelation adds to information swirling around the singer’s death. After weeks of assisting the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota and the Drug Enforcement Administration formally opened a federal investigation with local officials. As part of that investigation, federal prosecutors and DEA investigators will look into how Prince obtained prescription medication and from whom, the agencies said Wednesday.
A ‘life-saving mission’
The day before Prince died, his team called an eminent opioid addiction specialist in California seeking urgent help for the singer, an attorney working for the specialist and his son said Wednesday.
The specialist, Dr. Howard Kornfeld, couldn’t get there immediately so he sent his son, Andrew Kornfeld, on an overnight flight to Minnesota. The goal was for the younger Kornfeld to help evaluate Prince’s health and encourage him to enter treatment for pain management and potential addiction issues, attorney William Mauzy told reporters.
“He set in motion a plan to deal with what he felt was a life-saving mission,” Mauzy said of the elder Kornfeld.
But by the time Andrew Kornfeld arrived at the singer’s Paisley Park complex on the morning of April 21, it was too late. He and two Prince representatives found the 57-year-old entertainer unresponsive in an elevator.
It was Andrew Kornfeld who called 911, Mauzy said.
Mauzy’s account is the most public yet pointing to issues with opioid pain medication as a significant, life-threatening issue in Prince’s last days.
A law enforcement source told CNN last week that investigators had found opioid medication with Prince’s body.
The attempted intervention, first reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, also appeared to raise a potential legal issue.
Mauzy said Andrew Kornfeld, who works at his father’s pain management and addiction clinic, had a small quantity of a medication used to treat pain and opiate addiction.
The younger Kornfeld is not a doctor, and the medication – buprenorphine – is a controlled substance.