Patient Profile: From Morphine at Seventeen to Registered Medical Marijuana Patient

EAST BURKE, Vt. — After the pain in his back became too much for him to handle during his junior year in high school in the Northeast Kingdom, Kevin finally saw the doctor.

It took a full eight months for them to eventually determine that he had a Pars Fracture and had actually broken his back and would require a spinal fusion to repair the floating bone and subsequent damage. While the cause wasn’t immediately clear, his suffering was obvious, so his doctors started Kevin on the default solution: prescription pills.

“In the meantime, I was on painkillers, muscle-relaxants, steroids, everything from Valium to Vicodin. Right before my spinal fusion, I was taking morphine before going to school every day … And no one batted an eye.”

The effects of the morphine and the other heavy pain-killers weren’t subtle — Kevin still remembers specific incidents when his high school classmates were clearly aware of his drowsy

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