The parents of a 15-year-old boy with near-constant seizures are fearing for their son’s life after the couple lost custody of the teen because they gave him marijuana to treat his condition.
In February, Macon, Georgia, residents Suzeanna and Matthew Brill decided to give their son, David, cannabis to smoke after pharmaceuticals failed to halt the devastating seizures the teen suffered every day.
The couple claims that for 71 blissful days, David was seizure-free and Suzeanna and Matthew thought they had found the miracle cure they had so desperately tried to find.
“Nothing else was working,” Suzeanna told WMAZ-TV. “I can’t have my kid dying because nobody wants to listen.”
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Their joy and relief ended abruptly on April 20 – 4/20, of all days – when the Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office showed up on the Brills’ doorstep. Someone had tipped off the state, and a sheriff’s deputy was there to remove David from the family’s home.
The couple were arrested and charged with reckless conduct and the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) took custody of David.
The very same day that law enforcement removed David from his parents’ custody, he had a seizure and had to be rushed to the hospital.
“We complied, and within 14 hours of complying we were rushing our son to the hospital,” Suzeanna told The New York Times. “And it was one of the most horrific seizures I’ve ever seen.”
In Georgia, doctors are not allowed to prescribe cannabis, and it’s illegal to both sell and possess the drug. Those who have a state-issued medical marijuana card can possess low-THC cannabidiol (CBD) oil, but the substance is notoriously hard to come by in the state.
Twiggs Co. Sheriff Darren Mitchum has expressed little sympathy for the family, telling reporters at a press conference following the arrests that “It’s important to say, in my position as a sheriff, it doesn’t matter if I agree with the law.”
He later added, “The fact is, marijuana is not legal in the state of Georgia.”
In the wake of Mitchum’s remarks, the Twiggs County Sheriff’s Office has been bombarded with phone calls from residents near and far who are outraged by the arrests. A number of threats have been leveled against the sheriff and his deputies, according to Mitchum. He told WGXA that he finds it “sad” that so many people “think it’s OK to give your son drugs.”
David Brill remains in DFCS custody, where he is away from the beloved service dog who was able to sniff out the boy’s seizures, the bicycle he so enjoyed riding during the 71 days he was free from convulsions, and, most importantly, the mom and dad who were only trying to do their best to help their child.
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David also continues to have seizures, and Suzeanna and Matthew know their son’s life is in grave danger.
The distraught couple says that despite everything the family has been through, they would do it again, if it meant saving David’s life.
“We look at our child in a ball in the middle of the floor unable to do anything, but their entire body is convulsing tensed up and you have to pick your child up, carry them to your vehicle because you live 45 minutes away from help,” an emotional Suzeanna told WGXA. “I hope no parent ever has to do that.”
She added, “There’s no words to describe the hopelessness.”
The Brills are scheduled to appear in court on June 14, at which time David’s status could be decided.