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8-year-old boy's marijuana therapy clashes with school

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[ur] http://www.nando.net/healthscience/story/396069p-3150816c.html

By WAYNE WILSON, Sacramento Bee

(May 10, 2002 6:29 a.m. EDT) - Life just got more complicated for an 8-year-old boy and his mother who have had great success battling his mental disorders with a doctor-approved marijuana therapy.

The youngster's medical condition has improved so dramatically that he can now attend public school, but school officials won't permit a school nurse to administer his cannabis capsules and won't let him take the pills himself on campus, the child's mother said.

"Other kids get their medication," she complained. But the drug her son needs daily at 1 p.m. must be delivered by her personally, off the school grounds, she said.

"It makes him feel he's not normal, that he's being treated differently. He wonders why he's being targeted. He just wants to be normal," she said.

She hopes to persuade school officials to change their minds and allow the capsules to be given on campus.

The woman, whose name is being withheld to protect the boy's identity, has been treating her son with medical cannabis for the past year, at home and at the private school he had been attending.

But in April, they moved. She presented her son's new school with the required permission slip for students who need medication at school, a form she and the boy's doctor signed.

The day before the boy was to report to his new school, however, a message left on the family answering machine informed the mother that her son's recommended medication could not be administered on campus.

So, she says, she's been forced to drive a round trip of 26 miles each noontime to remove him from the school grounds, give him his capsules, and return him to class.

Vicki Barber, superintendent of the El Dorado County Office of Education, said the state law permits schools to dispense drugs only when they are formally "prescribed" by a physician. The boy's doctor made a "recommendation," and there is a difference, Barber added, between a "prescription" and a doctor's "recommendation."

Because the district has a zero-tolerance policy, students are not permitted to have in their possession or to self-administer drugs of any kind, she said.


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