Medical Marijuana news01-Nov-2016
On Saturday, The West Australian ran an editorial which had a number of people I know, surprised. In essence the editorial said that the editors of The West did not support the government's move to make changes to the legislation around Medical Marijuana because it sent the "wrong signal". I responded to the West but they have chosen NOT to run the letter to the editor. So I am reproducing it here in full.
"What a remarkable piece of confused and inconsistent positions to take in an editorial by the Weekend West “Medicinal cannabis sends wrong message on drug use”, Saturday 29th October 2016. The editorial culminates in the statement indicating that the legalising of medical cannabis sends the wrong message to society about the acceptability of recreational cannabis. Let me put the perspective of someone, who in my capacity as CEO of Epilepsy WA, deals with people at the “retractable and unmanaged” end of the Epilepsy journey on a daily basis.
The position faced by some of the parents of children with epilepsy and some adults with the condition is as follows:
On the one hand they have chemical compounds prescribed by their doctor which are often based on addictive and debilitating drugs. These have been ingested into their children or their bodies over many years. No one is able to identify exactly what the side effects of these chemical compounds are. And yet, despite the ingestion of these compounds, their little Sophie or Sienna or Sam continues to have between 300 and 500 seizures a day. And because of an event called SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death Due to Epilepsy), their child could quite likely die from the seizure.
On the other hand, they have an organically grown plant that is demonstrably working to reduce the severity and frequency of these seizures. Their choice is clearly “Hobson’s choice”.
And if we have to talk numbers of people with this stigmatised and demonised condition of epilepsy, in WA there are 24,500 people with epilepsy. Of this number approximately 30% are unmanaged. That is a number close to 7,500 with unmanaged epilepsy in WA. So when an opportunity arises to utilise a treatment regime that may alleviate the severity and frequency of these seizures, what right do we as a society have to deny them this opportunity?
I finish by remarking about the inconsistency of the approach by The West Australian. Here we have the newspaper’s editors railing against the “message’ being sent to society of the legalising of medical cannabis. And concurrently the very same newspaper has charged numerous liquor distributors and retailers considerable money to run advertisements about the acceptability and appropriateness of consuming alcohol. I look forward to the editors of this newspaper facing the parents of Sophie, Sienna and Sam and telling them that there is no option to relieve the damage to their brains. That is a task that I face regularly.
CEO Epilepsy Association of WA
11 Aberdare Road, Nedlands WA 6009"
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