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Georgia Kidnapped This Boy Because His Parents Used Marijuana to Stop His Seizures

Although the state recognizes cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy, it says letting your son use it is "reckless conduct."

GoFundMeGoFundMeGeorgia recognizes cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy and notionally lets certified patients possess up to 20 fluid ounces of "low THC oil," an extract that contains a negligible amount of marijuana's main psychoactive component but a substantial amount of cannabidiol (CBD), the ingredient that reduces seizures. That privilege is mainly theoretical, however, since there is no legal way to produce or obtain cannabis extract in Georgia. Given that glaring defect in the state's medical marijuana law, it is easy to understand why Matthew and Suzeanna Brill let their 15-year-old son, David, smoke cannabis in a desperate attempt to control his epileptic seizures. It is harder to understand why that decision led the state of Georgia to forcibly separate David from his parents.

David was having several seizures a day, the Brills say, and the drugs he was prescribed for his epilepsy did not work. But after he started smoking marijuana in February, he went more than two months without a seizure. "For 71 days he was able to ride a bike, go play, lift weights," Matthew Brill told The New York Times. David's doctors knew why he was suddenly doing so much better, and they did not object. But his therapist ratted out the Brills, which led to a visit by Twiggs County sheriff's deputies, who demanded that David stop taking his medicine. "We complied, and within 14 hours of complying we were rushing our son to the hospital," Suzeanna Brill told the Times. "It was one of the most horrific seizures I've ever seen."

The Brills were charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, and Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services took David away. He has been living in a group home for a month now, away from his parents, his medicine, and the dog that is trained to detect imminent seizures. His parents are fighting to get him back, a process they say may take as long as a year. They are trying to raise money to cover their legal expenses on GoFundMe, where they are more than halfway toward their goal of $30,000.

The Food and Drug Administration may be close to approving cannabidiol as a treatment for epilepsy, and Georgia has already acknowledged its medical utility. Yet when the Brills gave David access to this medicine, the state claims, they endangered his "bodily safety" by "consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk," which constituted "a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise."

The Brills do not see it that way. "For 71 days our son rode his bike, woke up, went to school, played with friends, played outside, and the terror for his life that gripped our hearts and souls began to lift," Suzeanna Brill writes. "The smiles on our faces reflecting our child getting to be a normal child. Safe in his bed. Doing better in school. Having a great quality of life. We were breaking the law. We saved our son....This is our job as parents, to protect our child even with our own lives."

Addendum: At a press conference today, Twiggs County Sheriff Darren Mitchum defended his department's handling of the case. "Whatever the law is, it's my job to enforce it," he said. "The fact is that, as of today, marijuana is not legal in the state of Georgia to possess or smoke or use for recreational use. And that's it." Mitchum added that he could have charged the Brills with cruelty to children, a felony, but "that's not what we're doing." Instead, he said, "we're trying to, on one hand, understand their position if what they're saying is true," while "at the very least still doing our job like we're supposed to do, not turning our head." He explained that "somebody's got to stand up for the child's welfare."

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  • Zeb||

    Charge that goddamn therapist with reckless conduct. Is patient confidentiality not a thing?

  • SIV||

    Is patient confidentiality not a thing?

    No, and it hasn't been for a long time.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Depends on the circs.

  • gormadoc||

    They're required by law to report certain illegal activities. I wouldn't be surprised if giving your kid weed to smoke falls under child neglect.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Therapists are your enemies, NOT your friends!!! NEVER tell them ANYTHING about you that is illegal, or MIGHT BECOME illegal! So it pretty much ends up being, don't go get any therapy that requires you telling them ANYTHING!!!!

  • Paloma||

    See: Soprano, Tony

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Soprano Tony has not made his appearance. So far we only have Red Tony from the future, Yellow Tony from another dimension where McAfee is president and most of the Reason staff was killed by fish people, and regular spacetime Oklahoma dumbass Tony.

  • Citizen X||

    Any one of those guys could be Soprano Tony, of course. We've never heard their voices, which could be high pitched, although Yellow Tony's throat is all fucked up from freebasing Krokodil (which is legal in his timeline).

  • Zeb||

    I must have missed the episode where Melfi called the cops on him.

  • Zeb||

    Though I guess they were careful to avoid directly talking about any serious crimes. Therapists should at least have the courtesy to tell patients what they can or are obliged to contact authorities about.

  • gormadoc||

    That's not quite true. This issue would have never arisen had the therapist never learned of the parents' involvement and was led to believe it was all the kid's doing without his parents' knowledge.

    They're required to report illegal acts that harm other people; child abuse, neglect, and rape are probably the most common. Mostly crimes with victims.

    This case shouldn't have come up but it's from a mix of draconian drug laws and strict reporting requirements. The therapist should be able to use discretion but the law doesn't like that.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    One reason that as we go forward people who may have need of therapy won't get it. Why open up to someone who is mandated to tell the state what you said?

  • sarcasmic||

    They can't help you unless you're totally honest, but if you're totally honest you might get reported.

    Kinda defeats the whole purpose.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Now assuming that the concept of a therapist with a conscience is any more real than a unicorn, the conversation might go like this:

    Patient: "My Dad allows me to smoke pot."

    Therapist with a conscience, who is NOT a slut for the State: "I get kinda hard of hearing at times, but you know, Government Almighty requires me to snitch on politically incorrect folks. Now what were you saying, your Dad allows you to eat smoked meats out of the pot, without a dish?"

    Patient: "Oh, OK, but only if Government Almighty is OK with eating smoked meat that way! If Government Almighty is NOT cool with it, then what I was saying is, sometimes our cooking pot gets so hot that it smokes... But we always have a fire extinguisher on hand!"

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Not with therapists. Or even doctors. I mean, a doctor can ask a child if his parents have a gun in the house, and if the kid says "yes" report that to authorities. If you say anything to a therapist that suggests even remotely possible suicidal tendencies it must be reported even though there is no actual risk.

  • SIV||

    the dog that is trained to detect imminent seizures

    If epilepsy could be cured, or successfully managed, all those poor seizure-dogs would have to be put down.

  • Citizen X||

    If only there was a way to induce epilepsy in folks who deserve it, such as drug-warrin' politicians and their enablers.

  • Zeb||

    Just make them quit drinking cold turkey. I'm sure there are lots of drunks among them. Should induce some seizures at least.

    When I first started hearing about how amazingly well CBD works for some people's epilepsy I thought that perhaps that would put to bed most remaining objections to medical cannabis.

  • croaker||

    It's called a TASER. Or you can use a cattle prod on their balls.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Electric fence transformer would work well too.

  • Oli||

    You shouldn't tase people high on coke though.

  • Zeb||

    And fuck anyone who thinks that smoking some weed is a serious danger to a 15 year old compared to multiple seizures every day. Sorry, but I say this crosses the line where "just doing my job" is any excuse. They have done demonstrable and significant harm to this kid.

  • SIV||

    The parents could have exercised a bit morte discretion:

    "We openly admitted to them in front of Twiggs County sheriff's deputies," said Matthew Brill....

    After trying several prescription drugs and even cannabis oil with no results, they turned to marijuana.

    "I smoke it first," said stepfather Matthew Brill. "I know where it comes from, I know my people. Made sure the bag was good, packed the bowl in my bowl, which I know ain't been anywhere else, and I set it on the table and told him that it was his decision. I did not tell him he had to or not.">
  • Paloma||

    I think they didn't want it to be the parent's decision to use marijuana to alleviate their son's illness. (It's a prog thing, you wouldn't understand)

  • Zeb||

    Progressive authoritarians on the left and right seem to be teaming up for this one.

  • Citizen X||

    Puritanism knows no party affiliation.

  • Dallas H.||

    "Bootleggers and Baptists" has always been a powerful coalition.

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    I dated a girl for almost two years who had a special needs child. Non verbal, cognitive impairment, and a seizure disorder as well. Sweetest child you'll ever meet and despite being on three different meds, she still would have them. CBD oil has drastically reduced them, and there are several other parents I know who say the same. I've watched people die before, including my own father, and I can say that seeing that little girl suffer a major seizure is the worst thing I've ever seen. DSS services are some of the worst fucking people ever. They should be forced to parent one of these kids and watch the suffering they endure and maybe that would warm their cold bloodless hearts.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    maybe that would warm their cold bloodless hearts.

    Without filing the proper paperwork?? Never gonna happen.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the ravenous Bug-Blatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, lost, found, queried, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighter.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    *clears throat to recite poetry*

  • Cynical Asshole||

    They should be forced to parent one of these kids and watch the suffering they endure and maybe that would warm their cold bloodless hearts.

    If it's not their kid I doubt they would care. And they would have to have a heart in the first place in order for it to be warmed.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    If child "protective services" doesn't kidnap kids on whatever pretext they don't get their money. It's always about the bucks, baby

  • ||

    Nutpunch!

  • FreeRadical||

    Yes this was a bad one. Sullum showed no mercy for us today.

  • Citizen X||

    He worked our balls like a speed bag, it is true.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Actually, that can feel kinda nice. My balls felt like a heavy bag, upon reading this, and Sullum's word were like Muay Thai kicks delivered with full hip rotation.

  • Citizen X||

    Once again, a personal preference reveal by Chipper makes everyone feel pretty uncomfortable.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I eagerly await the surely forthcoming outrage from all those conservatives that went apopleptic at that Great Britain case with the boy who wasn't allowed treatment in another country.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    It's hard enough keeping up with how badly laws are handled in our own country. If the Brits don't like what their own country is doing then let them do something about it, They could start by defunding the Monarchy.

  • Libertymike||

    Sad to say, but most of the Reason staff, never mind the progressive zeitgeist, would regard the therapist as a better human being than Roseanne Barr. In fact, they would go so far as to paint the therapist as Clara Barton next to Roseanne as Simon Legree.

  • Citizen X||

    This is a relevant interjection at all.

  • gormadoc||

    Well, when you don't know what you're talking about you gotta cast aspersions.

  • Citizen X||

    It is the Internet way.

  • Rich||

    Better yet -- cast dispersions.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Libertymike is working really hard to build some kind of reputation for himself here.

  • Trigger Warning||

    I read your handle as "Chipper Morning Speculum."

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Speculum play is for those new moon nights.

  • Citizen X||

    Hey, trying to reconcile the principles of individualist anarchy with race-based collectivism is a big, thankless, probably impossible task, and Libertymike works hard at it. He even had to cut back on the 9/11 Truth advocacy to free up his schedule.

  • Libertymike||

    Hey, trying to reconcile the principles of being a well reasoned, measured debater with cucky, faux libertarian proggie virtue signaling is also a big, thankless task.

  • Citizen X||

    If you say so.

  • Finrod||

    Your hallucinations are cute. Mind if I quote them in my next research paper?

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Wuh?

  • FreeRadical||

    Rage. Rage is all I feel!

    I've had seizures, but lucky for me medicine worked. I can't imagine the blacked hearts of the evil people doing this to him.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Can we please have at least one day where we are not learning about some fucked up shit happening in Georgia?

  • Citizen X||

    Georgia is apparently the Florida of the United States, if you don't count Florida.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Shriek is from Georgia, so no.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Georgia seems no worse than Alabama, Mississippi, or Oklahoma, for starters. The difference is that there is a few accomplished, educated, modern communities (near Atlanta, Athens, maybe others) in Georgia willing to direct attention to the backwardness. In some other states, it takes outsiders to blow the whistle.

  • Rubylady||

    It's even worse than SC! We may even have MMJ next year!

  • ohdelilah||

    Every state in the nation takes kids away from parents who are arrested for using or possessing illegal drugs. I lived next door to a foster home (in Arizona) where some of those kids were "protected" by housing them with teenaged sex offenders.

  • Rich||

    Georgia recognizes cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy and notionally lets certified patients possess up to 20 fluid ounces of "low THC oil," [but] there is no legal way to produce or obtain cannabis extract in Georgia.

    This kind of bullshit is why I vote every incumbent out.

  • Jerryskids||

    Yet when the Brills gave David access to this medicine, the state claims, they endangered his "bodily safety" by "consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk," which constituted "a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise."

    The Brills do not see it that way.

    They snatched your fucking kid away and imprisoned him in a "home" away from everything he knows and loves and you don't think he was facing a substantial and unjustifiable risk of a danger to his bodily safety constituting a gross deviation of a reasonable person's standard of care? If the cops had shot him, his dog and your neighbor's car, would you have seen the danger then?

  • Citizen X||

    It is harder to understand why that decision led the state of Georgia to forcibly separate David from his parents.

    Fuck You, That's Why isn't THAT hard to understand.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Thanks for the nutpunch.

    Woodchippers are too good for these fucks.

  • Dillinger||

    negligent monsters!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It takes a village to put anti-weed dogma above a child's health.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Drug warriors are lousy people.

    More specific: The people who support the drug war are lousy people. The people who participate in the drug war are reprehensible people who should be forced to find a decent livelihood and should be shunned by all decent people.

  • Longtobefree||

    So if the parents need an alibi for the night the men in black bust up the home and disappear the kid, his folks, his dog, and the weed, just let me know. We were discussing Faulkner in the family room.

  • Rubylady||

    Land of the free? I don't think so. The Chief said somebody has to stand up for the child's welfare? The parents already are. I hope state of GA is proud of itself for its cruelty

  • daveski99||

    Barbarians and stupid to boot. Oh well, it Georgia and not Atlanta. All because an asshole named Harry Jacob Anslinger wanted to create an empire based on cracking down on minorities and others that used the flowers of the hemp plant, using the Mexican name Marijuana to make it even more sinister to Anglo ears. He was very successful in starting this prohibition movement, despite it being substance the Declaration of Independence was written on and that the Washingtons, Jeffersons and many others used as a major cash crop for useful things like paper and sailcloth.

    These drug warriors are taught well, it's like a religion.

  • Vholtkamp||

    Is the state in violation with the ADA for not allowing him access to his service dog?

  • kynodog||

    Not a lawyer, but I would think they were in flagrant violation of federal law. The family addresses that point on their GoFundMe page. They say the hospital's police staff ordered the dog removed and taken to the pound, where he was kept for 7 days. The more I read about this, the more disgusting it gets.

    BTW, the fund has gained about $600 in the last 3 hours. Now at $22,614.

  • kynodog||

    Donations are pouring in to their GoFundMe page. It was just over $22,000 when I last checked.

  • ohdelilah||

    So, to punish the parents, you hurt the child. Good job.

  • Hank Phillips||

    True Conservatives would shoot the physician to help the child.

  • kynodog||

    Their GoFundMe is now $27,715. The goal has been raised from $30,000 to $50,000. Hope they get all that and more.

  • tommhan||

    The parents ARE standing up for the child's welfare.

  • tommhan||

    I guess they have no real crime there since they can waste time and resources on this case.

  • kynodog||

    GoFundMe now over $31,000.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Someone has to stand up for this child's welfare? I nominate the parents instead of a sheriff's posse.

    I'm curious as to what the state of Georgia and the Sheriffs Department will do when confronted with the long-term decline in health of this child. No doubt blame it on the parents and demand they pay the cost of foster care.

  • kynodog||

    Their GFM is now at $36,164.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Snitches help the government violate rights out of altruistic concern for your moral wellness.

  • gphx||

    There's a ton of anecdotal evidence strongly suggestion marijuana lowers the seizure threshold. There's also a lot indicating diphenhydramine (Benadryl) lowers the seizure threshold. Many people who experience seizures experience the first while taking diphenhydramine.

  • Digital Whatsup||

    Everyone must take care of their health. It is rightly said health is wealth.

  • kynodog||

    Their GoFundMe is now $41,100.

  • kynodog||

    They got it! GoFundMe => $50,010

  • kynodog||

    They are now at $60,725. Kid still in group home. Not with his dog. Limited visitation with parents.

    This really sucks but at least they now have money to fight the state.

  • kynodog||

    Update. He was released to go home, but was apparently hospitalized again for seizures. He's also been reunited with his dog. Their GFM is currently $61,585.

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