Prince's Half-Sister Opens Up on His Overdose, Counterfeit Pills

September 28, 2018 07:07 PM

Prince's half-sister, Sharon Nelson, is opening up for the first time on what killed him and her family's mission to find the source of his deadly pills.

"He wouldn't have taken a pill like that at all had he known," she said to ABC's Bob Woodruff in an exclusive interview airing Friday night on "20/20."


Investigators found the counterfeit drugs scattered throughout Prince's home following his death.

Thought to have been off-brand Vicodin, they turned out to be laced with the fentanyl that ultimately killed the Minnesota icon.

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One expert who treats addiction in the Twin Cities said the business of counterfeit drugs is a cat and mouse game. And the mice keep getting smarter.

"You can't prevent it," said addiction specialist Dr. Mark Willenbring with Alltyr Clinic. "It's impossible."

When doctors stop prescribing, many addicts turn online. Experts say it's impossible to tell if the drug being ordered is what the purchaser thinks they're buying.

"One concern I've had recently is that some of them could be using fentanyl and we wouldn't know it," said Willenbring of concerns for his patients following Prince's death.

Last November, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigators traveled to Chicago to learn just how fentanyl is getting to Minnesota in the first place.

It's simple. Pure powder is being shipped directly through the U.S. Postal Service.

Nelson addresses Prince's overdose for the first time Friday night on "20/20." The investigation, six months in the making, also surrounds other families who have lost loved ones to accidental fentanyl overdoses and takes viewers to China in an effort to trace the drugs back to the source.

"20/20" airs at 9 p.m. on 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.


Katherine Johnson

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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