I'm not sure there was even any Percocet involved at all. That may be just a rumor. No official statement has mentioned Percocet...how did the Percocet thing get started? It was said, IIRC, that opioids were on his person, but the type wasn't revealed.
I'm not convinced he was an extreme chronic pain sufferer, either. Sheila E said he was, but who's to say she's a reliable source about such a personal subjective matter.
Maybe after Moline, or even before, he was trying to kick his drug dependence (thus "flu" symptoms) but then gave in to a craving or on the fatal day, he decided "just this last time before rehab." Although I'm not convinced he would have agreed to go to rehab. Kornfeld was there to try to convince him, if I understand correctly. It wasn't a done deal. These are things we'll never know, I guess.
It isn't just Sheila E though, is it?
Kevin Smith mentions it, there was talk of hip replacement and his autopsy report listed a scar on one hip which suggests that an operation may well have taken place. You don't get a hip replacement without there being severe pain and degeneration of the joint.
I have seen posts from fans who recall him needing to be assisted on and off stage more recently on occasion.
Why would he alway carry a walking stick if he didn't need it at times?
Just basic anatomy and physiology would suggest that osteoarthritis due to wear and tear on his hip joints was highly likely. How may times do you or I do the splits? Have you seen footage of his early stage shows - he was doing the splits, jumping off speakers repeatedly throughout his shows and then night after night as he toured worldwide. Frankly I am amazed that there are so many people refusing to believe he suffered pain as a result - in my view it would be more unbelievable that he didn't
suffer chronic pain.
Sadly, although hip replacements work wonderfully for a lot of people, they do not always get rid of the pain and I could well imagine Prince not adhering to the recommendations for rehab after surgery and therefore failing to reap the potential benefits.
This clip from a 2009 interview interested me. Look at the way Prince is walking when he comes in. This was the day after a big concert in Paris and he appears to be limping quite significantly. The lighting is pretty dim (not sure if this was deliberate) - but have a look and see what you think.
That's not to say that fentanyl was definitely prescribed for Prince legitimately - I don't know. But I think it likely that he was a chronic pain sufferer - just due to the excessive wear and tear his joints were subjected to as a natural result of the work that he did and due to the 'full-on' shows he staged in his early career. (Some rock musicians have developed arthritis simply from playing their instruments quite apart from anything else).
I know a lot of FMs from US on here and other sites have suggested that Fentanyl is only used for terminal cancer pain - that certainly isn't the case in this country (UK).
The licence for fentanyl patches covers use in chronic pain (so - no mention of cancer pain only). I think this is totally inappropriate and once again shines a not very flattering light on the motivations of the pharmaceutical industry. It means we now have significant numbers of people on fentanyl patches for conditions such as back pain. Whilst wonderfully lucrative for big Pharma, I believe this treatment approach is pretty ineffective from a pain control point of view and potentially devastating from a dependance angle.
There is now increasing clinical evidence emerging that opiates aren't actually very effective in osteoarthritic types of chronic pain - small comfort to those chronic pain sufferers who are now dependent on opiates having received them on prescription.
I suspect similar problems are probably present in the US as well.
This is the FDA information on the licensed uses of Duragesic patches:
DURAGESIC is a transdermal formulation of fentanyl indicated for the management of persistent, moderate to severe chronic pain in opioid-tolerant patients 2 years of age and older when a continuous, around-the-clock opioid analgesic is required for an extended period of time, and the patient cannot be managed by other means such as non-steroidal analgesics, opioid combination products, or immediate-release opioids.
Patients considered opioid-tolerant are those who are taking at least 60 mg of morphine daily, or at least 30 mg of oral oxycodone daily, or at least 8 mg of oral hydromorphone daily, or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid for a week or longer.
I can see a scenario where Prince was prescribed less potent opiates early on to deal with hip and joint pain and became dependent leading to escalation of the medicines used to maintain the effect.
Just my personal opinion obviously.