All of Prince’s friends and representatives were trying to convince him to agree to addiction treatment. It appears they couldn’t convince him to go for inpatient treatment, so they were trying to offer him an outpatient program. I’m sure Prince was worried about security, but I’m also sure that security wasn’t the only thing he was worried about.
And so an intervention was set up. Prince knew about it, but I’m not sure he agreed to it. Yet Prince also knew that there would be painful consequences to his overdose just a short time before the date of his death.
Can you feel his desperation?
Even though Prince knew he had a drug problem, I’m not sure he was ready to quit. He had just performed in Atlanta to rave reviews. I’m sure it was easy to convince himself that now was not the right time to go into treatment.
The addiction clinic chosen for Prince says it treats chronic pain and addiction, as if they were the same thing. But, being treated for addiction is not the same as being treated for chronic pain, regardless of what the government and medical industry say. They were going to offer him buprenorphine, but I doubt Prince believed it would help his pain.
Prince knew that the treatment of his chronic pain would soon be over. Perhaps he even knew that his pain could not be treated, not really. Maybe after all these years, Prince was finally coming to the understanding that he would be suffering and in pain for the rest of his life, drugs or no drugs.
Chronic pain is a very difficult reality to come to terms with — there is a grieving process that Prince may not have had the chance to experience, especially as coddled as he was.
Prince knew that the intervention was going to start soon — the doctor was on his way, flying in from another state. Pretty soon, his pain would not be treated, only his addiction.
I know how he felt. When my pain doctor abandoned me, I knew I had lost my access to pain medications. There was fear, anger, confusion, and an acute sense of desperation. A life-and-death type of desperation. And of course there was pain and more pain. Did I want to survive if it meant living with no relief from this pain? At this point, what were my options?
What other options did Prince have to treat his constant pain? Did he believe that he’d run out of options?
Can you smell his desperation?
It could have gone one of two ways:
Prince decides to take one more handful of pills for his pain, knowing he wouldn’t have access while being treated for addiction. His overdose is an accident, perhaps precipitated by the Narcan he had received just days ago. (He keeps increasing his drug dosages because they’re amazingly ineffective.)
Prince decides he doesn’t want treatment for his drug addiction. What he really wants is adequate treatment for his pain, but he doesn’t see any other options. He finally understands that the pain is never going to go away. A ton of grief descends upon his head and body. He decides to take his own life before the intervention begins.
There’s also the possibility that Prince was given some bad pills, but since he was Prince and all, I kinda doubt anyone would do that. Maybe it’s more likely that Prince didn’t understand the combination of drugs he was taking (or the side effects of Narcan), especially for a man of his age.
All this is conjecture, of course. And even an autopsy cannot determine if Prince’s death was accidental or not. But there are some things that transcend being strangers, and one of those things is suffering from chronic pain. And I’m sad to say that Prince and I had a few too many things in common.