Updated: Jan 20
President who has led bloody anti-drugs campaign a regular user of powerful painkiller
Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, whose campaign against illegal narcotics has seen more than 7,000 people killed, is under pressure over his use of a powerful drug whose effects he has compared to “being on cloud nine”.
Despite taking a zero-tolerance approach to drugs and giving police death squads a free hand to kill suspected dealers and users, Mr Duterte (71) has been widely questioned about whether his abuse of the pain relief drug fentanyl following a motorcycle accident three years ago constitutes an addiction.
Known as “The Punisher” for his brutal crackdown on the narcotics trade in the Philippines, Mr Duterte denies he is addicted to fentanyl, a painkiller many times stronger than heroin or morphine which is often prescribed for cancer pain and other serious ailments.
An overdose of the opioid fentanyl is widely believed to have killed the pop star Prince, and the medication is in the same class of drugs as Oxycontin and Vicodin.
Mr Duterte was prescribed fentanyl after he suffered a severe spinal injury when injured in a motorcycle accident three years ago, when he was 68 years old. He has sought to play down the impact of fentanyl.
“I am perpetually in pain,” he said in remarks carried by the ABS-CBN network.
Mr Duterte has described how, when prescribed fentanyl, he had used a whole patch at a time instead of cutting it into four pieces as recommended.
“There was a time that I used the whole thing because, more than just the disappearance of pain, you feel that you are on cloud nine, as if everything is okay with the world, nothing to worry about,” he said.
Source: The Irish Times