By Kristin Espeland Gourlay, RINPR
Kaiser Health New
Evidence is mounting that opioid pain medication may have played a role in the death of pop legend Prince.
While the medical examiner hasn’t yet released the results of the autopsy and toxicology tests in this case, opioid overdose in middle age is all too common.
In 2013 and 2014, according to the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people ages 45 to 64 accounted for more than 40 percent of all deaths from drug overdose.
Prince died on April 21 at his home and music studio Paisley Park in Minneapolis. He was 57.
Experts say there are a number of scenarios that increase risk of overdose, which is often accidental, for people over 55.
Imagine you are in that age group and you injured your shoulder a while back. It just hasn’t gotten better, so you take prescription painkillers — an opioid like OxyContin — to help with the pain. Let’s say you’ve been taking it for a couple of years. Your body has built up a tolerance to the drug, and now, you need to change it up to get the same amount of relief.