Teen Taken By State Over Cannabis for Seizures to Return to His Family

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It’s the kind of nightmare scenario that parents who use cannabis worry about all the time. A young man was taken from loving, concerned parents, just because of cannabis. What’s really upsetting, however, is that his removal wasn’t because his parents consumed cannabis. It was because he did, in order to suppress the seizures that were taking over his life.

Before turning to cannabis, Suzeanna and Matthew Brill tried everything else the doctors recommended. Suzeanna’s son, David, has had special needs for much of his life, which eventually turned into him having about ten seizures a day. Doctors put him on a host of medications. He even had the help of a service dog who could alert them to potentially deadly seizures during the night.

Eventually, desperate, they tried a high CBD, low THC oil, with little luck. However, all the anecdote online convinced them to let him try cannabis in another form. They used a higher THC strain and allowed David to smoke it.

His parents saw a marked improvement in his health and overall happiness. They saw improvements in his speech, motor function and focus. He also went a whole 71 days without a seizure, thanks to cannabis. Sadly, a doctor reported them to the state of Georgia, who sent representatives from the Division of Family and Children’s Services to investigate.

When they admitted that David was smoking cannabis to suppress his seizures, the family was ordered to stop. Within 14 hours, David was struck by one of the worst seizures he had ever experienced. He went to the hospital, and his mother and step-father were arrested. The couple ended up spending six days in jail, and David was sent to live in a group home. He could only talk with his parents briefly over the phone and was even cut off from the service dog trained to alert in the event of a seizure.

Thankfully, common sense and humanity finally prevailed in this case. After more than two months of separation, the Division of Family and Children’s Services has finally created a protective order that allows David to return home. The family will need to sit down with DFCS case agents twice a month for the next six months. Unfortunately, David will have to undergo drug testing.

The state will not authorize medical cannabis, but the family has been promised a prescription for Epidiolex. Tragically, given David’s mediocre response to high CBD, low THC cannabis, this medication may not offer the same relief that he has previously enjoyed. While it encouraging that DFCS is allowing David to return home, they are still not allowing him to utilize a medicine that could, potentially, save his life.


For previous Ladybud content about child protective services, click here.