Local doctor explains negatives, positives with fentanyl use

Dr. Phil Essay, a pain management specials from Lincoln, explained fentanyl's uses and risks

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — During a three-week period (July 23-Aug. 19), Lincoln police reported 30 overdose cases that were caused by a combination of cocaine and fentanyl. Eight of those cases resulted in deaths, nine if you include an unborn child.

Many people already know what cocaine is, but fentanyl isn’t as common. Dr. Phil Essay, a pain management specials from Lincoln, explained fentanyl’s in an interview earlier this month.

“Fentanyl is not a bad drug,” Essay said.

However, Essay said it can lead to deadly consequences if not properly used. Still, the drug is a vital part of health care systems.

“So it’s not the medication that’s the problem, it’s the way it was utilized,” Essay said.

Like many pain medications, Fentanyl has its positives and negatives. Last March, a Seward County deputy nearly died after being exposed to meth laced with fentanyl during a routine traffic stop.

However, Essay says the drug itself has saved countless lives and helps people control severe pain.

“Fentanyl is a vital drug that we use all the time in the operating room to sedate patients and also to put them to sleep for surgery and to control their pain afterward,” Essay said.

Fentanyl is also given to terminal cancer patients to help them get through their final stages of life.

Still, Essay has to make sure a patient is properly educated before handing out pain medications like fentanyl. He said he thinks twice before writing out a prescription.

“It should make me think three or four times, every time,” Essay said. “But the other thing to remember is to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. These medications have very valid uses.”

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