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Posted on 02/22/2011 1:35:12 PM PST by neverdem
Teen's medical marijuana fight escalates as school says he cannot come back to class after going home for medicine
Father appeals to legislators for help
The saga of a Colorado Springs teenager struggling with a rare neurological condition best controlled with medical marijuana lozenges became a little more surreal when Harrison School District 2 informed the student’s father that the child cannot return to school on any day that he consumes medical marijuana.
“They say if he takes his medicine he cannot come back to school,” the teenager’s father told The Colorado Independent. The boy attends Sierra High School.
The child missed most of the last school year when he was diagnosed with diaphragmatic and axial myoclonus, which causes seizures that can last for 24 hours or more. He spent extensive periods of time hospitalized and used morphine and other narcotics to control the seizures until doctors discovered that THC works better than any other medication.
He was able to return to school in January but as the district would not allow him to possess or consume his prescribed medicine on campus, he transferred to a school closer to home so that he could walk home as needed to take his medicine.
After the district’s latest salvo was delivered, the teen’s father said he spoke with both the district superintendent and the district attorney and that neither were receptive to his arguments that his son needs the medicine to function, does not get high and does not smell like marijuana.
The district has refused to comment to us, other than for a spokesperson to say that the district intends to follow the letter of the law, which is that no student may possess or consume medical marijuana on school grounds.
The district’s attorney, Kelly Dude, did not return a call for comment.
The father has now taken the step of writing to the legislators who represent his district, Democratic Senator John Morse and Republican Representative Mark Barker.
We called both, seeking comment. Barker told us he would look into the matter, and then sent us this email: “I will have the legislative liaison staff research the issue and once we have the information, perhaps we can provide a solution.”
Senator Greg Brophy, R-Wray, reached by email, said this: “Tragic. Zero tolerance policies are for people with zero intelligence.”
Brophy has introduced an unrelated bill that would make it easier for some students to take needed medicine while at school.
In the letter, signed by the mother, the father and the grandmother (who has legal custody of the child), they recount the damage they believed was being done to the child by narcotics which had been used to control his condition before they tried THC.
They ask Morse and Barker for their help in changing the law so that exceptions can be made on a case by case basis. They make the point that the teenager does not get high on the drug.
“This is a child that wants his education, and has gone through enough with the endless tests, trials, and school changes.
“We are doing everything we possibly can to stay within the letter of the law,” they write.
The father has released many pages of medical records to The Colorado Independent. The boy’s doctor has not yet returned our phone calls, so we are not releasing her name, but below we quote from a letter she prepared for the school district.
LETTER OF MEDICAL NECESSITY
Date: January 18, 2011 To: Whom it may concern
Regarding: redacted name
DOB: redacted date/1994
Diagnosis: Diaphragmatic and Axial myoclonus
Treatment: Sinemet 25/100 mg tablets, 2 tablets by mouth three times per day Zoloft 50mg at bedtime THC 10-50mg as needed for episode of breakthrough myoclonus
Rationale: Failure to respond to a host of other medications including Keppra, clonazepam, valium, morphine, benadryl, Xanax, inhaled lidocaine, Dilantin, Tegretol, Depakote, Flexeril, Artane, IVlg and Solumedrol. Previously, (redacted name) was taking benzodiazepines while at school for episodes of breakthrough myoclonus which was sedating and ineffective to control the symptoms. We now have (redacted name) on a medication regimen which actually helps reduce the frequency and duration of his spells, and have found a medication which reliably aborts the attacks (THC) when they occur.
He has no significant side effects to the THC and is functional on this medication. I strongly recommend that (redacted name) return to school on his current medication regimen and be allowed to take the THC which has been prescribed by a physician to treat his medical condition.
Please call me with any concerns or questions.
In the plan above, the father explained that the zoloft and sinemet are taken on a regular schedule to reduce the frequency of the attacks and the THC is taken only when an attack occurs in order to reduce the severity and length of the individual attack. For best effect, the THC needs to be taken immediately when an attack occurs, which is not possible when the boy has to walk home to get his medicine.
As a side note, the father told us today that his son sprained an ankle over the weekend and was prescribed vicodin for the pain.
“I called the school to see if he could come to school after taking vicodin and they said that was no problem even though the vicodin affects his mental state way more than the THC.
“It’s not right,” the father said.
Don’t believe one word of it.
Only freaking school oficials would be insane enough to get upset about THC but still allow students to take Ritalin.
Welcome to Zero Tolerance. The school system can’t tell the difference between a gang-banger smoking chronic and a kid sucking on a lozenge.
Why would school officals have a list of prescription meds taken by students at home?
We now have (redacted name) on a medication regimen which actually helps reduce the frequency and duration of his spells, and have found a medication which reliably aborts the attacks (THC) when they occur.
Think of it like a rescue inhaler for asthmatics.
They have no problem with opiates for a sprained ankle, but it's zero tolerance when it's prescribed THC for breakthrough seizures. Go figure.
Where did you do your neurology residency or go to medical school?
I thought the clients would be folks with cancer, people with serious mental issues...
I was in several consultations where the owner was listening to the 100% healthy college student that ‘this was so’ trick’ much better than looking for the dude with the red hat a Walmart.
The whole thing is a sham.
I used to have sympathy, but no more...
Dope smoking is a crime.
Attn Freepers who disagree with me:
What other laws of the union do you break willingly?
A crime is a crime.
Free Republic SO needs a ‘like’ button!
That said, it can't be used in public view and "workplaces" can't be required to allow use while at work. Of course, an adult can just leave the building.
The Independant is a left wing rag, given away free at grocery stores etc. Hard, hard, left wing. You're right not to believe a single word they print.
Anyone that believes this is about medicine probably votes democratic, or is a libertarian. Or could be Willie Nelson I guess.
Can THC not be synthesized in the lab? There is no need to roll-it-and-smoke-it.
I don’t have a problem under specific circumstances (there are a whole bunch of LEGAL narcotics that one can be prescribed for a variety of pains and disorders that are far more mind-altering and addictive than THC when processed as it appears this student may have access to.
I would have a zero-tolerance policy if other students turned up with the lozenges... that would be distributing a controlled substance (no different than if he were giving/selling his vicodin to fellow students).
Why doesn’t he claim that his medicine is necessary for a sex-change operation? Then he’d have smooth sailing.
Hell, a significant portion of the student body is stoned, anyway. He probably isn’t, as his need is medicinal, and he’s focused on seizure prevention, not being high, giggling in school, and raiding the fridge. They should leave him alone; it would be OK to monitor him for weird or disruptive drug-induced behavior, but nothing he would do could be more disruptive than fading into a 24-hour seizure.
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