Wednesday November 21, 2018

Mystery Solved: Iconoclast Musician Prince died of accidental drug overdose, says Medical Test report

The death of Prince Rogers Nelson due to a drug called fentanyl alerts drug associations in the U.S

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Prince Rogers Nelson. Image source Wikimedia commons
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The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Ramsey, MN in US found the mystery behind the great musician’s death. Entertainer and Iconoclast in the true sense of the term, Prince’s death was due to drug overdose. The medical examiner said Prince Rogers Nelson, 57, self-administered a deadly dose of the synthetic opiate fentanyl by accident, a report released publicly on Thursday, June 2 said.

National Institute on Drug Abuse states, fentanyl, a schedule II drug, is typically used to “treat patients with severe pain.” As Minnesota Public Radio reports: “Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous opioid painkillers, said Dr. Charles Reznikoff, an addiction medicine specialist at Hennepin County Medical Center. “‘Fentanyl is what I call the Ebola of opioids. The reason I call it that is Fentanyl kills you quickly, very quickly, as opposed to many of the other opioids that take a long time and are less apt to kill you in overdose,’ Reznikoff said.”

Powder drugs. Image source Wikimedia Commons
Powder drugs. Image source Wikimedia Commons

“Seizures of fentanyl have increased significantly in the past couple of years. It’s one part of the country’s opioid epidemic,” says spokesman Lawrence Payne of Drug Enforcement Administration. Two-thirds of deaths in the U.S involved some kind of drug (opioids) as stated by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Payne also said that the Drug Enforcement Administration is seeing more and more fentanyl both alone and mixed with heroin.

A bottle of Heroin. Image source Wikimedia Commons
A bottle of Heroin. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

“From what we know, most heroin users are not aware of what they are consuming is in fact Fentanyl rather than heroin,” Payne told Carrie Johnson of NPR. “This can be attributed to a majority of the opiate-related overdoses we are seeing. The users are not accustomed to consuming such a powerful dose and most think it is the same dose of heroin rather than Fentanyl, which is 25 time to 50 times stronger.”

Prince’s overdose made him the most high profile victim of the opioid epidemic. Fentanyl is a prescription as well as a street drug, nobody knows how he (Prince) acquired this drug or why he was taking it.

Representatives from Prince’s office had contacted Dr Howard Kornfeld, nation authority on addiction, seeking help for the singer. The doctor immediately sent his son, but ultimately it was too late. Mr Andrew Kornfeld was among those who found Prince dead in the elevator at his Paisley Park compound.

by Vrushali Mahajan, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: Vrushali Mahajan 

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Thousands of Africans Fatally Affected Due To Fake Drugs

In Ivory Coast, many cannot afford to shop in pharmacies.

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Drugs, Africa
A street vendor sells illegal and false drugs in a street of Adjame in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. VOA

When Moustapha Dieng came down with stomach pains one day last month he did the sensible thing and went to a doctor in his hometown of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, Africa.

The doctor prescribed a malaria treatment but the medicine cost too much for Dieng, a 30-year-old tailor, so he went to an unlicensed street vendor for pills on the cheap.

“It was too expensive at the pharmacy. I was forced to buy street drugs as they are less expensive,” he said. Within days he was hospitalized — sickened by the very drugs that were supposed to cure him.

Africa
Able Ekissi, an inspector at the health ministry, told Reuters the seized goods. Pixabay

Tens of thousands of people in Africa die each year because of fake and counterfeit medication, an E.U.-funded report released on Tuesday said. The drugs are mainly made in China but also in India, Paraguay, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

Almost half the fake and low-quality medicines reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 2013 and 2017 were found to be in sub-Saharan Africa, said the report, also backed by Interpol and the Institute for Security Studies.

“Counterfeiters prey on poorer countries more than their richer counterparts, with up to 30 times greater penetration of fakes in the supply chain,” said the report.

Substandard or fake anti-malarials cause the deaths of between 64,000 and 158,000 people per year in sub-Saharan Africa, the report said.

Africa
Opiates have some of the most cases of addiction due to their accessibility and intense ‘high’ – mostly beginning from something as simple as painkillers.

The counterfeit drug market is worth around $200 billion worldwide annually, WHO says, making it the most lucrative trade of illegally copied goods. Its impact has been devastating.

Nigeria said more than 80 children were killed in 2009 by a teething syrup tainted with a chemical normally used in engine coolant and blamed for causing kidney failure.

For Dieng, the cost can be measured in more than simple suffering. The night in hospital cost him more than double what he would have paid had he bought the drugs the doctor ordered.

“After taking those drugs, the provenance of which we don’t know, he came back with new symptoms … All this had aggravated his condition,” said nurse Jules Raesse, who treated Dieng when he stayed at the clinic last month.

Fake drugs also threaten a thriving pharmaceutical sector in several African countries.

Africa
Misuse of antibiotic drugs have lead to the threat of antimicrobial resistance, Pixabay

That has helped prompt Ivory Coast – where fake drugs were also sold openly – to crack down on the trade, estimated at $30 billion by Reuters last year.

Ivorian authorities said last month they had seized almost 400 tonnes of fake medicine over the past two years.

Able Ekissi, an inspector at the health ministry, told Reuters the seized goods, had they been sold to consumers, would have represented a loss to the legitimate pharmaceutical industry of more than $170 million.

“They are reputed to be cheaper, but at best they are ineffective and at worst toxic,” Abderrahmane Chakibi, Managing Director of French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi’s sub-Saharan Africa branch.

Also Read: Trump Presents Proposal To Lower the Price of Specific Drugs

But in Ivory Coast, many cannot afford to shop in pharmacies, which often only stock expensive drugs imported from France, rather than cheaper generics from places like India.

“When you have no means you are forced to go out onto the street,” said Barakissa Cherik, a pharmacist in Ivory Coast’s lagoon-side commercial capital Abidjan. (VOA)