Andrew Kornfeld was thrusted into the spotlight when his father, famed addiction specialist, Howard Kornfeld sent him to the home of legendary musician, Prince, on his behalf. It was Andrew Kornfeld who dialed 911 after Prince was discovered unresponsive in his elevator.
Now the University of California, Santa Cruz, graduate has written an essay for CNN published on June 3.
“I know many of you are eager for details; understandably, you want to know what transpired that day. Believe me, nothing can prepare a person to walk into such chaos and sadness,” he wrote. “As I told the 911 dispatcher on April 21, those on the scene were distraught, which was why I was the one to place the call. But what happened has made me think, long and hard, about what steps we must take to prevent such entirely unnecessary loss of life.”
The investigation of Prince’s death was completed on Thursday, June 2, and findings concluded that the “Purple Rain” singer died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, according to the Midwest Medical Examiners Office.
The report indicates the legendary musician administered the drug himself.
“Many people become addicted to opioid painkillers because they are prescribed them as treatment for chronic pain conditions. The media reported that Prince was one such patient,” he wrote. “But, as media reports over the last several years have made clear, what begins as a “harmless” short-term prescription of opioids can turn into a long-term dependence.”
Reports have suggested that Prince was battling an intense addiction to painkillers after a medical procedure to replace his hip. Chief medical examiner at the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, Dr. Quinn A. Strobl notes a scar on Prince’s left hip in her findings.
Kornfeld understands the notion of chronic pain and wanting to escape the agony as he’s been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. The pre-med student advocates for a prescription drug called buprenorphine, hence the survival rates for addicts raise when given.
Andrew had buprenorphine on his person when he arrived at the Paisley Park Estate.
“I have learned from my father that when a patient is in withdrawal (especially from opioids or benzodiazepines, which reduce anxiety or sleep problems), he or she will experience intense physical symptoms, coupled with feelings of vulnerability and powerlessness,” Andrew wrote. “Buprenorphine helps to eliminate the craving for opioids and reduces the brutal symptoms, it can give the patient the opportunity to develop healthy life habits and healing behaviors, which can readily become entrenched.”
Prince, whose full name is Prince Rogers Nelson, passed away at age 57.
“His death was a tragedy beyond words. In the weeks that have passed since April 21, I have thought about what might have produced a different outcome. What if his troubles could have been addressed effectively, and much sooner?,” he asked. “The timely care Prince may have needed has been difficult to obtain in Minnesota, and in many states in our nation. There are 120 buprenorphine prescribers in the state, roughly 2.2 physicians certified to prescribe the drug, per 100,000 persons — not nearly enough.”
Andrew Kornfeld who is currently applying to medical school calls for interventions in handling drug dependency.
“We need medical interventions for opioid dependence and addiction more than ever, because in the U.S. we’re losing 28,000 people every year—a number that would average out to 77 people daily—to opioid overdoses,” he wrote. “There will be legislative challenges, as well as stigma and misinformation to battle, as we inch toward a meaningful solution.”