Pubdate: Wed, 26 Jan 2005
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Russell Barth
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)
Bookmark: (Chronic Pain)


Re: Doctor shortages creating 'health care orphans,' doctor says, Jan. 17.

I am very lucky to have a good general physician. But as a chronic pain 
sufferer with fibromyalgia, I am in a particularly tight spot when it comes 
to treating this illness.

My body is intolerant to pharmaceutical medications, so I can't use the 
painkillers, sleeping pills, antidepressants, tranquilizers and 
anti-inflammatory medications usually prescribed for people in my 
condition. The last hope for me to alleviate the symptoms of my condition 
is medical cannabis.

I had a Health Canada federal licence to possess cannabis from 2003-2004, 
but the specialist who signed the forms for me no longer practises, so I 
now have no one who can sign to renew my licence. I am, like thousands of 
other Canadians, forced to choose between my health and jail.

The Canadian Medical Association and the Ontario Medical Association have 
told doctors to refrain from signing these forms, and that doesn't help 
people in my situation. In any case, doctors' reluctance to sign the forms 
is secondary to the problem that you can't get an appointment to ask them 
to sign.

My choices now are to break the law and alleviate my symptoms; to not use 
cannabis at all to avoid the law, but further diminish my physical and 
mental health; or to take Health Canada to court for once again violating 
numerous court orders that have instructed it to let general physicians 
sign for these licences without consulting a specialist. Mostly, I just 
bite the bullet and suffer.

I would love to see my MP or MPP help me with this conundrum.

Russell Barth,


Educators for Sensible Drug Policy 
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MAP posted-by: Beth