Parents Regain Custody Of Epileptic Teen Taken Away For Using Pot
How much longer are we going to allow authorities to take kids away for using the very medicine they need?
David Ray, a teen from Georgia, is one of the latest of these cases. Two months ago, David was taken away from his mom and stepdad by the Twiggs County, which resulted in him being admitted to the hospital right after he had one of the worst seizures of his life. His parents Matthew and Suzeanna Brill, were thrown in jail, too. All because authorities found out that his parents allowed him to smoke cannabis for his condition.
Using cannabis for his condition prevented David from having a seizure for 71 days straight. Despite this, his parents faced charges for reckless conduct.
The Brills have been open to their doctors about allowing their son to use pot. However, things changed last April when the cops turned up in their house just hours after they disclosed David’s cannabis use to his therapist. The entire family was required to undergo drug testing, and Matthew and David were found positive of cannabis. They told the police that they indeed allowed their son to use pot for his seizures, and the cops demanded that they stop doing so.
The Brills obeyed.
What happens next? David had to be rushed to the hospital since his seizures went out of control, where he had to stay for a week. When he was released, David was forcefully taken to a group home, and had to be separated from his seizure dog, a dog that was trained to alert them when a seizure was coming on. His seizures kept returning, and he was only allowed to talk to his parents through the phone or entertain them during short visits.
Meanwhile, Matthew and Suzeanna spent almost a week behind bars.
The Brills finally have David back, but the Division of Family and Children Services are going to continue intervening. The agency’s protective order means that David can be returned to his parents with full custody but it still requires the parents to have meetings with authorities twice a month for at least the next 6 months. This also means that David can no longer use cannabis as medicine, because he is mandated to undergo drug tests on a regular basis as long as he’s back in the custody of his parents.
In place of cannabis, David will be given prescriptions for Epidiolex, a newly-approved drug by the FDA. Epidiolex is a pharmaceutical cannabis oil that is legal for use in Georgia but the irony is that Epidiolex can’t be purchased in the state and it can’t also be transported across state lines. In other words, there’s simply no way to legally obtain it if you’re a law-abiding citizen.
The state has left the Brills with two unfair choices: relocate to a state where cannabis is legal, or break the law.
Despite everything that’s happened, the Brills say they don’t regret giving their son any cannabis. Suzeanna disclosed to the New York Times: “Had it not been for me and my husband, my son would have long been dead. Authorities want to argue legality instead of taking care of the kid.”
“Even with the ramifications with the law, I don’t care. For seventy-one days he was able to ride a bike, go play, lift weights. We were able to achieve that when David medicated not from Big Pharma, but David medicated with marijuana,” Matthew says.
A GoFundMe page was created for David, and on it his mother tries to plead with the desperate situation they’re caught in.
It’s unfortunate that they live in Georgia, a state that isn’t exactly known for being cannabis-friendly. Current state regulations prohibit cannabis possession, although possession of under an ounce is considered a misdemeanor. Georgia’s medical cannabis program still needs a lot of work: patients can possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil provided that it’s a high CBD, low THC formulation. Even worse, the medicine that is permitted can’t be purchased within the state, so there’s no legitimate way that eligible patients can get a hold of the medicine they need. Possessing cannabis as a whole, and cultivation of it, are both still illegal.