David Brill's parents say they tried everything to treat their son's chronic seizures.
The 15-year-old from Macon, Georgia would have an average of seven to 10 seizures a day, and his mother says high dozes of anti-seizure medication "zombified" him.
Fed up and desperate to help their son, the Brills began treating him with marijuana.
They say the treatment was "a miracle" for David, but lost custody of their son when sheriff's deputies found out about it.
No seizures for 71 days
After trying a number of treatment's for David's seizures with no success, his mother Suzeanna and stepfather Matthew settled on marijuana.
Studies have show that medical marijuana use can decrease the frequency of seizures for some patients, and the Epilepsy Foundation's website says cannabis "can be helpful in controlling seizures."
Matthew says he told David's doctors about the treatment, purchased a marijuana plant, and supervised David's cannabis use.
He says that the change in David's behavior after taking the drug was dramatic. He claims David had no seizures for 71 days after beginning to take the drug.
He also says David was able to bike, exercise, and focus on schoolwork better than he could before taking marijuana.
Suzeanna called the treatment "a miracle," and said even David's teachers noticed a sudden change.
But after someone tipped off the sheriff's department about David's marijuana use, Suzeanna and Matthew were arrested.
"Whatever the law is, it's my job to enforce it"
Deputies first visited the Brills in April, and ordered them to stop giving David marijuana.
The Brills say they agreed, but their attorney claims just 14 hours later David had "the worst seizure of his life."
David's parents rushed him to the hospital, where he was taken out of their custody and put into foster care.
The Brills were arrested later the same day, and even David's service dog, Malory, was put in the pound.
Along with losing custody of their son, the Brills spent six days in jail for reckless endangerment, and were slapped with a $1,000 fine.
The local county sheriff, Darren Mitchum, says he has been getting hateful emails since David's made national headlines, but defends the arrests.
"Whatever the law is, it’s my job to enforce it” he told reporters.
“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."
"Nothing else was working"
Today, David is being kept in a group home, and his parents can only speak to him in short visits or over the phone.
Neither of them regret giving David the marijuana, and Suzeanna insists the drug "helped my son when all other options had failed."
Medical marijuana is legal in Georgia for a small number of conditions, but the use is heavily restricted and wait lists are extremely long.
The Brills say it would have taken them six years to qualify David for THC oil.
David's parents are preparing for a custody hearing on June 14th, but in the meantime they're concerned about David's well-being.
He's back on anti-seizure medication but still having episodes, and now his service dog can't alert him before they happen. (The Brills retrieved Malory from the pound, and "were grateful that she hadn't been killed.")
"Nothing else was working,” Suzeanna Brill told 13 WMAZ. “I can’t have my kid dying because no one wants to listen.”
Did the Brills make the right decision?
If this story interested you, check out these:
- A Kansas man was arrested for treating his seizures with marijuana.
- This 11-year-old got permission to use medical marijuana in school.
- A hospital denied this teenager a lung transplant for smoking weed.