President Rodrigo Duterte does not abuse drugs of any kind, even for medical reasons.

Speaking to reporters in Singapore Friday (Dec. 16) after a meeting with the Filipino community, Duterte was asked by a foreign journalist if he considered himself a drug addict because of his admission that he used to take a painkiller 50 times more potent than morphine to relieve his migraine.

In response, he said: “Yes. But I’m not an addict. Only when there is prescribed. Addiction when there’s regularity my friend.”

Duterte then explained on what addiction is: “When you take it and there’s a monkey on your back, that’s addiction. You know what? I’ll give you an idea, nicotine is an addictive element. It’s more than worse than the medications you take for your headache.”

The President reiterated that he only takes painkillers for his migraine, which he suffers from intermittently “because I had a bad spill.”

Earlier this week, Duterte admitted to using the painkiller Fentanyl to relieve his migraine. There were times, he said, when he had to use an entire patch instead of just a small portion because of the pain he experienced.

However, the President said he stopped using an entire Fentanyl patch because his doctor said its abuse could lead him to lose his cognitive ability.

According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, Fentanyl “is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.”

It is prescribed by doctors to patients who just had surgery or are in chronic pain.


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