According to "Associated Press", an official close to the investigation unveiled - on Sunday, August 21 - that several pills found in Prince's estate in Paisley Park after his death were counterfeit drugs and actually contained fentanyl: a strong synthetic opioid, 50 times more powerful than heroin. This puts the Purple One's death under a darker and bleaker perspective.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation; he said that many pills were falsely labelled as "Watson 385" (a stamp usually identifying pills containing a mix of acetaminophen and hydrocodone). Reportedly, about a dozen tablets were found in a dressing room at Paisley Park, but the vast majority was in bottles of Vitamin C and aspirin that had been tucked inside a suitcase and bags - including one Prince often carried with him.
Some pills were analysed and contained fentanyl, lidocaine and U-4770 (a synthetic drug that is eight times more powerful than morphine). Also, a prescription bottle in someone else's name was found: it contained 10 oxycodone pills, the official said, but he didn't reveal who was listed on the prescription.
Autopsy results released in June confirmed a death caused by an accidental fentanyl overdose, but the official who spoke to the "AP" made clear that records show the artist had no prescription for any controlled substances in the state of Minnesota, in the 12 months before he died.
U-4770 can be tested for in toxicology screens, but is not done routinely because it is a relatively new chemical. Presence of the drug was not tested in Prince's case, but the levels of fentanyl in his system were more than enough to be toxic, the official said. Tests on Prince prior to his death did not show fentanyl in his system, which means he wasn't a long-time abuser of that drug, but likely took the fatal dose sometime in the 24 hours before he died, the official said.