Testimony of a father who became a dealer for his son
How far can a father go out of love for his son? In 2015, Júlio Américo, a native of Paraíba, publicly declared himself an international trafficker of raw cannabis extract. Her son, Pedro Américo, then 4 years old, had about 40 epileptic fits a day. At the time, the boy was already taking a combination of five drugs, or about 16 pills per day at the maximum allowable dose and that was the best scenario for the child. Uninformed, Julio and Sheila Geriz, Pedrinho's parents, began to research alternatives for the treatment of epilepsy and became acquainted with cannabis oil. Without authorization at the time, the founder of the Cannabis League of Paraíba, the first entity registered for this purpose in Brazil, imported cannabis extracts from the United States that arrived in Brazil hidden in pencil boxes.
The child had up to 40 seizures per day, did not walk or speak. Today he plays, smiles and gets out of his wheelchair
“Our son did not control his chest, nor his neck, did not walk, did not use his hands, did not look in the eyes, did not feel anything. He didn't cry, didn't smile, he didn't express feelings. We started administering the therapeutic cannabis oils, and during that time we adjusted the doses, we studied the cannabis and found out what was best for it. Today, he has managed to wean himself off all the anticonvulsants, ”explains Julio.
Pedrinho's childhood has changed. For the past two years he has only been using cannabis oil in his treatment and is already able to perform basic tasks. "The one who lived in a wheelchair, now walks, uses his hands, expresses feelings, laughs, cries, takes water alone, Today my son exists, he shows feelings, hugs us, looks us in the eyes He remembers fondly.
"I declared that I was dealing the drug"
“I imported cannabis oil, an extract of the cannabidiol-rich plant variety. These were oils and pastes that we imported. As cannabidiol was not reclassified at the time, it was still banned, we needed special permission from Anvisa and without that permission we would be committing the crime of international drug trafficking. And that's what we did, ”said Júlio Américo, Pedrinho's father.
“At the time, it was necessary to have a liability clause signed by the doctor with a prescription and no one wanted to do it. We couldn't do it. As our son needed it, we did it underground. We would buy it, transfer it, and give it to someone who was a friend of a patient in the United States and that person would send it to us. The syringes with the jackets of crude extracts were delivered in packs of pencils. In 2015, I went to the press and we said that we were trafficking and that we would not stop doing it, because our son's life was at stake ”.
Parents reveal that even with the medication, Peter had 40 seizures per day, in addition to the side effects. “He was already developing pancreatitis, drug-induced hepatitis and kidney dysfunction. He was a very committed boy, ”said Júlio Américo.
In Julio's family, it's not just Stone who benefits from cannabis oil. Mother Sheila Geriz, who is now president of the Paraíba Cannabis League, once had breast cancer and uses it to prevent the disease from recurring. Besides breast cancer, it also treats the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints.
Zeza Araújo, 63, a retired professor, says it was her children who discovered cannabis oil. She had been in an advanced state of depression for almost five years. Last year, she agreed to take non-traditional therapy and started using cannabis oil, which she now calls miraculous, a forbidden fruit. “I was facing a terrible depression. I stayed in bed straight up. I couldn't even get up.
My image deteriorated with my divorce and retirement. I have been taking ten drops a day for a year now, and I can tell that depression is behind me. I am healed, ”she said.
Victory 12-year-old Fatima was born with cerebral palsy, deformity, West syndrome and has faced many seizures throughout her life. “She spent a whole hour having a seizure. It was a real seizure. She spent months in intensive care units in hospitals. After taking the oil, she never went to the hospital again except to have her gum operated on. Her life has changed, ”says teacher Maria Edneusa Bezerra, mother of Vitória de Fátima.
She says she's never been prejudiced, but that when she tries to talk to people who haven't experienced her daughter's harsh reality, she's always ignored. “It all started after I saw parents talk about it in a story. I went to get some information. It was difficult to find a doctor who could prescribe, but we were successful. I have never had any prejudices about anything that could improve a person's life ”.
In 2018, 4-year-old Levi Vasconcelos was diagnosed with the autism spectrum. Her parents' often difficult behavior, sleepless nights and high stress level motivated Cecilia Vasconcelos to seek more effective therapy. His development was like that of any "typical" child. Then the first signs and characteristics of autism began to appear. We requested professional help from Funad and received the report and our new reality. Over the months, our life got more complicated. Sleepless nights, anxiety and a very high level of stress in the family, behavior that was more and more difficult for our child to understand and we no longer had quality or life expectancy. Only discouragement and frustrations.
We were looking for a neurologist who would prescribe the conventional medicine used in cases of ATE, but unfortunately the medicine did not meet our needs, ”he recalls.
Thanks to mothers and fathers who lived the same reality that Cecilia found Abrace, the Brazilian Cannabis Hope association, based in João Pessoa. It is the only entity authorized in Brazil to practice the cultivation and handling of Cannabis sativa. “I ran after an alternative that could improve what we were going through. I have read and seen people who have used cannabis oil and have had good results. Through A-ima (Integrated Association of Autism Mothers) we went to the event, where there was the celebration of Abrace's five years and where we were really hugged. Two months later, we made the consultation with the neuro-pediatrician specializing in autism and having knowledge in the field of cannabis. And she prescribed the oil that changed our lives, ”she says.
Since last June, the reality of the family is completely different. “Today we have a better quality of family life and especially my son, who has improved his sleep, he can now sleep. It is certain that the oil based on cannabidiol has greatly improved our life in general, ”he says.
Mother with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Reveals Cannabis Oil Regulated Her Son's Appetite, Improved Focus and Shared Attention, Decreased Restlessness and Irritability, and Better Controlled Anxiety and Stereotypes .
One of the goals of the Cannabis League of Paraíba, officially founded in 2015, is to convince lawmakers and governments to create laws and public policies that make medical cannabis possible for families in vulnerable situations. “Besides the special permission for importation and access via Abrace, there is a third route, which unfortunately is the exit route for most economically vulnerable patients, namely the illegal route. These people are looking for producers who are committed to the cause and who make quality oils, but at more affordable prices. Since there is no legislation, we are going through a big problem, because these producers are persecuted, arrested, many are on the run and this leaves the patients without oil, ”he said.
“Another illegal means is domestic cultivation. In Brazil, we already have 62 habeas corpus granted to people who have relatives or patients who need cannabis and who are awaiting judicial authorization to plant at home and produce their oils and medicines. And we don't have these 62 cases of habeas corpus of hijacking, because the patient with a chronic, crippling disease doesn't think about it, as the federal government says. These patients are forced to do this because there is no legislation or public policy to support us. Many of them seek trafficking, buy a press and make an oil, which has no quality, but this is what many vulnerable people in the periphery do to gain access. It is absurd, but it is the government's omission and lack of public policy that listens to those who are on the cutting edge ”.
The Cannabis League is a movement that emerged in 2014 in search of medical cannabis. The objectives are as follows: create a culture of welcome and overcoming prejudices against consumers of therapeutic cannabis; inform and educate society on therapeutic cannabis; promote the dissemination of scientific knowledge, partnerships with universities and collaboration with research institutes. The League works with the executive and legislative powers to create the conditions necessary for legislation, patient support and project encouragement. The entity facilitates access to patients by creating the conditions for the therapeutic cultivation of cannabis to be possible in the future
In four years, requests for authorization to import cannabidiol-based products have increased by 776%. In 2015, there were 902 requests. In 2009, more than 7. In December, the National Agency for Health Surveillance made public the sale of cannabis products in pharmacies. In January, it streamlined the process for importing these products. The queue, which was 000 days before the changes, now averages 75 days, according to the agency.
Text by Renata Fabrício, extract from the CORREIO journal