MS sufferer turning to street dealers for drugs

Warning: Thames Valley Police

Warning: Thames Valley Police

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

A GRANDMOTHER from Abingdon says she has resorted to buying drugs from street dealers to tackle the pain she suffers from multiple sclerosis.

Michelle X – which is her real name – says being cautioned by the police for growing the drug has “changed her life”. And she says she is willing to go to prison to press the case for Ms victims to be able to use cannabis legally.

The 46-year-old MS sufferer said: “It is annoying me like mad that I have to buy the drug off street dealers because I am stuck with their prices and I don’t know what I am getting.

“I don’t know whether the people I am buying drugs from are dangerous or not. I have not got a clue who they are.

“I would go to prison. I would go that far to make a stand.

“I feel I wouldn’t have done this 10 years ago because I had other commitments, but now I am in a position where I can make that stand.”

The Multiple Sclerosis Trust says anecdotal reports suggest cannabis might be useful for MS symptoms such as pain, spasticity and bladder symptoms, but research has had mixed results.

The Oxfordshire-based drugs charity The Beckley Foundation has backed Ms X’s plight, although the Oxford and district branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society has said cannabis use is illegal.

Ms X is determined to continue – but said it was becoming increasingly hard to find cannabis on the street.

Since being cautioned by the police, she has become involved in advising other people on the medical use of cannabis and the Abingdon and Oxfordshire Cannabis Social Club – a branch of a national movement to legalise cannabis.

In October, she was given a caution after police found 28 cannabis plants and nearly 60g of the drug when they raided her Abingdon home.

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They also took away £1,000 worth of cannabis-growing equipment.

Ms X was diagnosed with MS in 1988 and had been growing cannabis for around a decade.

In many parts of the country, those who suffer from MS are prescribed Sativex, a patented mouthspray which contains one of the main components of cannabis. But the spray is not prescribed here.

Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Hannah Williams said: “Cannabis is a class B drug and police will take action against anyone found to be in possession or supplying the drug.”

A spokesman for Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) said: “The policy on Sativex and other medical cannabinoids was reviewed by NHS commissioners in Thames Valley in August 2012.

“It showed there was a lack of evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness to support their use to treat conditions like multiple sclerosis.

“Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has since adopted this policy and does not routinely commission this group of drugs.

“However, doctors who consider a patient’ s clinical circumstances may provide grounds for funding as an exception to the policy can apply to OCCG to fund the drugs.”

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