I came across this on r/news, about a woman in Kansas, undergoing chemo for terminal cancer, who was prescribed a drug called Marinol. This drug is essentially a derivative of marijuana. She was charged with DUI because she had THC in her system, from the Marinol and now is going to spend 48 hours in jail, missing a chemo appointment.
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) –
A grandmother with terminal cancer is in the Sedgwick County Jail because of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in her system while she was driving.
But the THC was in her system because it is in a medication her pharmacist says she needs in order to eat while on chemotherapy.
Angela Kastner has colorectal cancer. KAKE News spoke with her Tuesday night, right before she reported to jail for a 48-hour sentence. She’s in jail as a result of a DUI, although she had nothing to drink.
“I had … Marinol in my system that the doctors in Oklahoma gave me to fight cancer. I’ve been fighting cancer 5 years,” Kastner said.
Marinol is an FDA approved medication for cancer patients. It helps them keep down food. It’s a synthetic form of THC, but it’s legal.
According to her pharmacist, the amount of THC in her blood is not enough to make anyone high. The time Kastner will spend in jail will force her to miss a chemo session, which will force her to restart her whole regimen. Her doctor is not happy.
“I miss my chemo tomorrow and I miss my doctors appointment tomorrow,” said Kastner.
Colonel Brenda Dietzman with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office says Kastner chose the date on which to begin her 48-hour sentence and the jail has to accommodate that.
“We routinely, on a daily basis, take inmates to dialysis and other medical procedures and appointments,” Dietzman said. “We take the care of our inmates very seriously.”
She could not speak to why Kastner did not take the option of being taken for chemo, referring calls to the city courts. However, she did say that approximately $6 million is spent each year for inmate medical expenses, which is about three times the annual cost of the jail’s food.
Kastner said she is coming forward with her story so other cancer patients won’t have to experience the same legal treatment.
“I feel sorry for the next cancer patient who has to go through anything I have had to go through. They shouldn’t have to do this at the end of their life.”
Kastner did plead no contest to the DUI charge. In a document obtained by KAKE News, her doctor says that if chemotherapy does not work then she will need hospice care.
Now I know she’s only going to spend 48 hours in jail — but it is the principle of it. Yes she was driving with THC in her system, which can be dangerous. But honestly, I feel like it is “better” for a lack of a better word, that if you are going to drive with a substance in your system that may or may not alter your perception, I’d rather it THC than alcohol.
And current studies are fuzzy on whether or not THC consumption does have a negative effect on driving because most studies where drivers were under the influence also reported consuming alcohol as well as THC.
Although cognitive studies suggest that cannabis use may lead to unsafe driving, experimental studies have suggested that it can have the opposite effect. Epidemiological studies have themselves been inconsistent, and thus have not resolved the question. One possibility is that people who smoke marijuana share qualities—being young, male, and risk-taking—that would increase their risk of road traffic accidents even in the absence of marijuana use. It has been suggested that there is a single factor that underlies adolescent “problem behaviors” such as illicit drug use, precocious sexual intercourse, and problem drinking.96 Two epidemiological studies in New Zealand that attempted to address this hypothesis found that the significant relationship that existed between self-reported cannabis use and self-reported accidents (OR 1.6 and 3.9, respectively) disappeared after risky driver behaviors and unsafe driver attitudes were controlled for.97, 98 A follow-up study found that the crash risk for driving under the influence of cannabis more than 20 times in one year (OR 2.25) was halved and reduced to marginal significance when distance driven and self-reported risky driving behaviors were controlled for.99 A third Canadian study that compared crash rates in cannabis users found an even higher adjusted OR of 2.61 for crashing over the course of the year in those who drove while “stoned” versus marijuana smokers who did not, suggesting that the decision to drive while intoxicated may predict poor judgment and unsafe driving habits even in the absence of marijuana use.100
In summary, laboratory tests and driving studies show that cannabis may acutely impair several driving-related skills in a dose-related fashion, but that the effects between individuals vary more than they do with alcohol because of tolerance, differences in smoking technique, and different absorptions of THC. Driving and simulator studies show that detrimental effects vary in a dose-related fashion, and are more pronounced with highly automatic driving functions, but more complex tasks that require conscious control are less affected, which is the opposite pattern from that seen with alcohol. Because of both this and an increased awareness that they are impaired, marijuana smokers tend to compensate effectively for their impairment by utilizing a variety of behavioral strategies such as driving more slowly, passing less, and leaving more space between themselves and cars in front of them. Combining marijuana with alcohol eliminates the ability to use such strategies effectively, however, and results in impairment even at doses that would be insignificant were they of either drug alone. Case-control studies are inconsistent, but suggest that while low concentrations of THC do not increase the rate of accidents, and may even decrease them, serum concentrations of THC higher than 5 ng/mL are associated with an increased risk of accidents (Figure 2). Overall, though, case-control and culpability studies have been inconclusive, a determination reached by several other recent reviewers.101, 102 Similar disagreement has never existed in the literature on alcohol use and crash risk.103
But at the end of the day, the indignation of it all is that this is a woman with terminal cancer — if chemo doesn’t work, she’s going to die. Let her have her goddamn THC and live her life. I mean, if she was all kinds of dangerous and couldn’t pass a field sobriety test, then by all means, lock her up. But there wasn’t enough THC in her system for her to even be high.
And having dealt with family having debilitating illnesses that required chemo and medications that impair perceptions, it’s difficult. Because you know and love those people, you have a great deal of compassion and sympathy — they are in tremendous pain. Why not let them medicate? It seems cruel to not to.
The whole reason she had the accident in the first place was because she was dehydrated from chemo:
It is no secret that Sedgwick County, Kansas has no problem putting someone in jail for often trivial and victimless crimes. On Wednesday, Sedgwick County flexed their muscle towards a 53-year-old woman dying of Stage 4 Colon Cancer.
Last year, Angela Kastner was involved in a car accident after suffering from dehydration from her chemotherapy. Kastner got sick in her vehicle, which caused her to hit a dump truck, then forced her vehicle into other vehicles.
Kastner, who already had enough medical ailments, received a brain bleed from her airbag going off during the accident. The accident was deemed Kastner’s fault, and her insurance took care of all cars involved.
Trace Amounts Of Prescription Marinol
While Kastner thought that would be the end of the situation, the Sedgwick County court system had other plans. Kastner had trace amounts of prescription Marinol in her system.
Marinol is an FDA approved medication used with chemotherapy to commonly help with some of the side effects of the treatment, such as a severe loss of appetite.
In December, Kastner found out exactly how far Sedgwick County was willing to go to get a conviction. Kastner received notice that she was being charged with a DUI due to the trace amounts of Marinol in her system. Kastner ended up pleading no contest to the DUI.
48-Hours In Jail
On Wednesday, Kastner had to check herself in jail for 48-hours, despite having a scheduled appointment for chemotherapy and a doctors appointment. Kastner will now have to restart her entire regimen; she told KAKE News on Tuesday night before checking herself into jail.
Kastner’s niece, Krystal Wyrick-Fleming is concerned that Kastner will not even be able to make it through the short sentence, due to her diminished health. Along with having to restart her chemotherapy, Wyrick-Fleming is concerned that Kastner will be forced into hospice due to sentence.
Is This Justice
In the same breath, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett just recently offered self-admitted child molester Brandon Lloyd probation.
Lloyd is in Sedgwick County Jail and charged with six counts of Aggravated Incest, Criminal Sodomy with a Child, Aggravated Indecent Liberties with a Child, and Aggravated Criminal Sodomy.
Lloyd has admitted to the charges he is facing, yet Bennett has offered a plea bargain that would give Lloyd time served, and then place him on probation. The plea bargain also allows Lloyd to move to Ohio to serve his probation.
The Daily Haze received an audio recording between the victim’s parents and Bennett. The video below contains the audio of Bennett explaining why he offered such a low penalty for such a serious list of crimes.
I mean, it’s a known thing that cops are dickheads. Not all cops though, but the media would have you believe there’s a good chunk of them who are dickheads.
And I’m not some drug aficionado — methamphetamine pretty much ruined my childhood.
However, if someone is in pain, let them not be in pain and don’t demonize them for wanting to legally medicate themselves.