Dad’s crippling pain means he has to put himself in danger with drug dealers
A dad who is on the toilet "at least 10 times a day" because of his Cronh's disease in calling on the law to be changed so he can be prescribed cannabis on the NHS.
Keith Johnson from Walton, Liverpool, says the condition controls his life and cannabis is the only drug that relieves his symptoms without severe side effects.
The 40-year-old claims the only way he can get the drug is to buy off the streets which puts him in a "dangerous position".
Keith, who has suffered from Crohn's disease since he was nine-years-old, said the drug has saved his life and wants it to be legalised so he would be able to get the drug safely.
He told the Liverpool Echo : " [Crohn's] controls my life, I’m on the toilet at least 10 times a day and the pain is unbearable.
“I can’t put any weight on either, I’m 40-years-old and my 15-year-old and 17-year-old daughters weigh more than me.
“It’s not right that I stand at 6ft 2in and I weigh 65 kilograms – I’ve got bones popping out of my back.”
Over the past twenty years, Keith has undergone numerous operations including two small bowel resections and a full reconstruction of his abdominal wall.
He has also been prescribed 19 different types of drugs to relieve his symptoms and additional pain caused by Crohn's.
Keith said: “Pregabalin and Oxycodone were the worst… but they have all had severe side effects with me.”
However, Keith says that he can no longer take any opium-based drugs as they worsen his condition.
The only thing he says has worked is cannabis.
But the NHS state that very few people in England are likely to get a prescription for medical cannabis.
Currently, it is only likely to be prescribed for children and adults with rare, severe forms of epilepsy and adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy.
But after 12 years of illegally obtaining the drug, Keith, who had to give up his career as a semi-professional footballer because of the disease, says this law should be changed.
He said: “For 12 years I have taken cannabis; it helps me eat, takes away the pain and makes my quality of life so much better.
“But I’m having to get it off the street and previously I’ve had to grow my own. This is putting me in an unsafe position as I have to break the law.”
Keith claims upon visiting the pain management department at Broadgreen hospital, he was told that he could not receive the drug due to there being a lack of evidence to recommend the drug for pain relief.
He continued: “When I was telling them that it was no good, I felt like they weren’t listening to me."
Keith believes that if medical cannabis was to be legalised for his condition, it would reduce any negative side effects of the drug as the supply would be more controlled.
He said: “There are negatives of taking cannabis, every time I buy it I don’t know what strain I’ve got.
“You only get what you’re given, sometimes it can deflate me and make me feel depressed and then you get other strains that do the opposite.
“I feel like I’m suffering in silence…I have to hide the fact that I use cannabis."
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