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The Death of Prince

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By Susan Doneth, BS – Admissions Manager

The death of Prince. Cause of death still unknown.

Speculation runs rampant with unconfirmed reports of an overdose on Percocet that was treated with Narcan days before his death. No, we do not yet know how he died, but I do not think that the existing speculation shows disrespect, or dishonor. If it serves to continue to shine a light on a very dark and real problem in this country, hopefully that will continue to generate discussion and better solution.

Like everyone, my newsfeed is full of tributes to his life and every radio station has been playing Prince music around the clock.

Music lovers globally feel this loss and remember his musical genius. I feel the same sadness and appreciate Prince for his presence in the world. If another life was lost due to drug toxicity, the death is no more or no less tragic than death by another cause – except for the fact that it does not need to occur. A death is a death with a life gone. Poof. As someone who works in the field of addiction and has a pretty up close and personal experience with this disease, if he died from an overdose, I will always feel differently about such a death, but not to place blame or judgment. I will feel differently because it does not need to happen.

Addiction is treatable– but it is chronic, progressive and often fatal if left untreated. 
In the coming days, if we learn that Prince’s death was substance related, I do not anticipate that his life and his value in this world will be judged differently by people. I do anticipate, however, that those addicts who die alone, broken, and forgotten in a bathroom will continue to be judged and somehow “blamed” for dying from a disease that most people will view as a death by choice. As I read the various posts in my feed this morning, this is glaring to me. If it turns out that Prince is another soul lost due to an overdose, the loss of life is the same. If it turns out he did not, the loss of life is still the same.

If nothing else, I implore people to recognize the nature of an existing epidemic.

Death by drug toxicity in this country has increased markedly in the past few years, with increasing numbers specifically related to prescription drugs. Nobody thinks it can happen to them – but it can. Most in the grips of the disease do not believe it can rob them of everything – but it will. The addict is not helped by judgment, or enabling. The addict is helped by compassion, understanding and help finding a way out. If you know one, save the judgment and help them find their way to the solution.


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