(CNN) – Thursday night investigators are intensely tracking the drugs Prince had in his possession and who gave them to him.
Law enforcement officials familiar with the case told CNN investigators believe Percocet is one of the drugs Prince was taking, but they don’t know if that contributed to his death.
Experts say opiate painkillers are highly addictive, and potentially harmful. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, said, “You don’t want to be using these types of medications long-term. First of all, they just don’t work long-term, and second of all, people will start to use more and more because it’s not controlling their pain.”
One area investigators are honing-in on Thursday, Prince’s inner-circle. Trying to determine if those closest to the superstar were intermediaries and helped him obtain prescription drugs.
Michael Vigil, former DEA Chief of International Operations, said, “Obviously they’re going to look at the inner circle. They’re going to look at his friends. They’re going to look at family. They’re going to look at physicians that he may be using.”
Officials said the DEA is joining the investigation, lending expertise about a problem called “prescription drug diversion.” “For example, if I were to obtain a prescription for pain medication, and I didn’t use all of those pills, and I gave those to my friends, that is diversion,” said Vigil.
It isn’t always just one person diverting the drugs to the addict. Law enforcement experts say prescription drug dependents may have a network, runners who get the meds either by prescription or in the massive black market.
Law enforcement officials told CNN, Prince had opioids on his person and in his house when he died, and they said so far, there’s no indication he had a valid prescription.
Experts are worried about the epidemic of opioid abuse in America. Dr. Drew Pinsky, the host of HLN’s Dr. Drew, said, “I challenge anyone to open your medicine cabinet and determine whether you have a large supply of these opiates in the medicine cabinet. Most Americans do. We have excessive prescribing of this medication.”
Experts said some doctors prescribe opioids illegitimately, purely for profit. Doctors can sometimes misjudge the amount they should prescribe.