‘I felt afraid’: Tucker Carlson tells staff he has a new understanding of the opioid crisis after taking fentanyl and other powerful painkillers that ‘extinguish the spirit within you’ following back surgery – but still presented his show

 Fox News host Tucker Carlson has described his emergency back surgery ordeal in leaked remarks to his production staff, saying the ‘intense’ experience with powerful prescription painkillers, including fentanyl, had given him a new understanding of the opioid crisis. 

Carlson made the remarks on Wednesday in a private speech to his crew, hours after undergoing emergency back surgery to correct an issue that left him in excruciating pain, according to a tape of the remarks reported by Vice News

Carlson went on to film Wednesday’s show just hours after the surgery, as he had on Monday and Tuesday to cover election results despite the excruciating pain, but took Thursday night off to recuperate, with Jesse Watters filling in.   

The conservative pundit apparently suffered an undisclosed injury on Monday that prompted him to seek treatment and get the emergency surgery on Wednesday morning, calling it ‘one of the most traumatic things that’s ever happened to me in my whole life, ever,’ in the leaked remarks to his staff.

Carlson, an avowed teetotaler, said that even high doses of prescription opioids dilaudid and fentanyl failed to ease the pain, but said that his experience with the powerful drugs gave him a new appreciation for their ability to ‘extinguish the spirit within you’.

Carlson is seen on Wednesday’s show, hours after undergoing emergency surgery. He said in leaked remarks the ordeal gave him a new understanding of the opioid crisis

It’s unclear what triggered the need for the surgery, but Carlson is believed to have suffered from serious back pain for several weeks before things took a turn for the worse early this week.

After his Election Day show on Tuesday, his executive producer rushed him to a hospital in Florida, where he underwent the surgery the next day before returning to the airwaves later Wednesday night, according to Page Six

A Fox News spokesperson told Vice on Thursday: ‘Tucker Carlson had emergency back surgery yesterday and did the show anyway. He thanks all those who tuned in and watched closely.’ 

‘That was one of the most intense experiences of my life,’ Carlson said of the ordeal in the leaked remarks to his staff, according to Vice. 

‘They hit me up, they told me this morning, with such a huge dose of dilaudid, which is more powerful than morphine, when I got there, that I had trouble breathing,’ he said. 

‘Scared the s**t out of me. Didn’t have any effect at all. And then all night, I lay there, the nurse finally upped my dosage of dilaudid to the point where every eight minutes I hit it and it was like getting shot. Just like bam, feel it hit me, and it didn’t touch the pain,’ continued Carlson.