By: Jana Greene
Today I have a great sadness.
I am sad because the autopsy results are in – : Prince died from opiate overdose. I just lost my musical main man, David Bowie, earlier this year. Prince was my second music love; his lyrics wove the words of my final growing-up years with fine purple thread.
My friends and I saw Purple Rain in theaters half a dozen times. We sang along with “Party like its 1999” and marveled at how OLD we would be when it really was 1999. I played “KISS” on my boom box, rewinding it until the tape in the cassette broke. My friends and I ALL loved Prince’s voice and drowsy sexiness and ridiculous androgyny, and we all wished we were Apollonia or Sheila E., or Vanity. He also fostered in me a love for Corvettes – little red and otherwise.
In the weeks since his untimely death, I had been under a tiny umbrella of denial, even in a monsoon of Purple Rain. It’s not drugs, I convinced myself. Please no. No. No. No.
But it was drugs, and we need to talk about it.
Lets talk about the fact that around 40 Americans die each and every day from prescription opioid overdoses.
Let’s consider that the increased prescribing of opioids — which has quadrupled (QUADRUPLED!) since 1999 — is fueling an epidemic that is blurring the lines between prescription opioids and illicit opioids.* (Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin, heroin…it’s all the same to your body and mind. It all anesthetizes the Spirit.)
Lets talk about how hard life can be to get through – even when you are rich and famous, or talented and much-loved. Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer.
I don’t know why Prince was an addict. Maybe he fed the monster to keep the music going, or to make the hurting stop. I can only guess.
Whatever the reason, I wish he’d discovered that freedom didn’t have to cost him his life. People can and DO recover. (If you are waiting for a sign to get help with a drug or alcohol problem, here it is – your Sign of the Times. Today is your day!)
We, Dearly Beloveds, need each other to get through this thing called life. We, the ones in recovery and our advocates – are that grassroots effort.
Prince (or the Artist Formerly Known as) didn’t die in vain if his overdose opens an honest conversation on addiction and closes the doors of stigma and apathy. How many Great Sadnesses do we need before we pay attention?
It was drugs, and we need to talk about it.
Dear Prince Rogers Nelson,
I hope your tender heart is satiated.
I hope you are in Heaven serenading angels with “Purple Rain.”
I hope your doves have finally found peace.
Thanks for the memories ❤
And God bless us, every one.
“Sign of the times, mess with your mind.
Hurry, before it’s too late….. – Prince”
*CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, in an interview with People Magazine