DOH explains danger of abusing fentanyl

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Teodoro Herbosa warned of the dangers of abusing prescription drugs like fentanyl—a pain reliever and a narcotic that is primarily used for pain management.


“Usually, ginagamit ito ng mga anesthesiologists to remove pain during surgical procedures at ginagamit din for chronic pain sa mga patients na may pain na hindi ma-treat (Typically, this is used by anesthesiologists to alleviate pain during surgical procedures and is also utilized for chronic pain in patients whose pain is not responsive to treatment),” he said in a press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 31.

He added that it can only be prescribed by physicians; is not available over the counter and requires a DBB "yellow prescription" or a prescription from someone with an S2 license or a prohibited drug license.

Herbosa furthed explained that fentanyl is a fast-acting pain reliever used by doctors in emergency departments for severe trauma cases where immediate pain control is needed.

He emphasized that fentanyl is also "addictive."

Meanwhile, Herbosa also addressed that cocaine is not a drug that is being used, but it is one of the most dangerous drugs listed by the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB).

“So it’s not in the market [cocaine], ‘yung fentanyl may FDA registration ‘yan. ‘Yung cocaine ay walang registration so it’s an illegal and part of the list of the dangerous drugs (While fentanyl has FDA registration. Cocaine lacks registration, making it illegal and included in the list of dangerous drugs),” he noted.

The issue on fentanyl use has been at the center of recent controversy.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte is the target of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s latest finger-pointing, raising the possibility that the powerful drug is impairing the former’s judgment.

Duterte previously admitted to using fentanyl in 2016 to alleviate pain from injuries sustained in a motorbike accident.

The former President’s lawyer, Salvador Panelo, however asserted that Duterte ceased fentanyl usage before assuming the presidency in 2016.