NEW YORK—In an effort to address the growing controversy surrounding widespread non-medical use of their products, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer released a statement Thursday categorically denying that packaging fentanyl with cooking spoons and lighters should be interpreted as an encouragement of drug abuse. “This groundless speculation that we somehow support the practice of drug abuse has no basis in fact. Pfizer is in the business of helping people, and it’s absolutely outrageous to imply otherwise,” said Pfizer spokesperson Mallory Choi, explaining that the company’s packaging of fentanyl with a cooking spoon, lighter, and a rubber tube was simply a matter of convenience for those who wish to enjoy the synthetic opioid recreationally, and it should under no circumstances be interpreted as official approval of drug abuse by the company as a whole. “If people choose to abuse this vital medicine, that’s their prerogative. It’s outrageous to think that we would willingly encourage drug addiction among our customers just because the product’s packaging includes step-by-step instructions for how to evenly heat the spoon. Such implications are simply preposterous abdications of the very idea of personal responsibility.” Choi refused to comment on the $45 million tax refund Pfizer received on the spoons and lighters in 2018 when it claimed the branded accoutrements as an advertising expense.