FRANKFORT — “I honestly thought six months ago we were going to have to seek medical relief in another state,” Rita Wooton told the committee Wednesday.
Eli, she said, still suffers 30 to 40 seizures each day, but the Wootons didn’t understand why they should have to break the law or travel at great expense to another state.
“We’ve exhausted all medical avenues,” Rita Wooton told lawmakers.
The bills from Eli’s medications and numerous trips to the Cincinnati hospital are already wreaking havoc on the family budget. The Wootons paid out $7,100 last year in medical co-pays for drugs that didn’t stop the seizures. She placed a large plastic, zip-lock plastic bag on the table before her, filled with all the drugs that have failed to relieve Eli’s seizures.
Deb McGrath, Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentucky, said the drug has been available for years in Europe and has been shown to be effective. It does not contain THC, the ingredient in marijuana that produces the high.
Under Denton’s measure, the oil could be prescribed and dispensed by either of Kentucky’s research hospitals at the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville which can ensure its purity and dosage. And the bill contains an emergency clause which will make it effective immediately upon passage and then the signature of the governor.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said he supports the measure and expects it to pass quickly through the House.
“I’m thrilled for the children and even the adults this could help in Kentucky,” Denton said after the committee vote. “The General Assembly has cast a vote that is going to mean an awful lot for Kentucky families that suffer from this.”
The bill is distinct from another before the General Assembly that would legalize medical marijuana use. That bill isn’t likely to pass during this session.
Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.