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NOT A DRUGGO: Dad says he uses marijuana because of pain

CHRONIC PAIN: Shaune Frisk wih X Rays of his damaged spine. "IT'S not like I'm some horticulturist." Shaune Fisk wants people to understand that his drug-taking is a necessity. Mr Fisk was sentenced in Bundaberg Magistrates Court earlier this month for possession of marijuana. When asked whether he would attend a program to help him get clean, Mr Fisk answered: "No." The reason, he says, is debilitating pain - an agony so relentless the 45-year-old has been prescribed daily 120mg doses of morphine. Mr Fisk says he isn't a druggo, he has "half a dozen cones a day" to help ease his pain as the effects of the morphine wear off. The pain is the result of a car crash 15 years ago when Mr Fisk was living in Western Australia. He had just attended a wedding and admits he should have stayed the night when he got in the car and drove away. "It was miles and miles of straight road," he said. "I must have had one of those micro-sleeps when I went down an eight-foot embankment and up a 12-foot embankment." His car nose-dived and flipped, narrowly missing two large trees. A branch came through the windscreen and speared Mr Fisk in the leg while a friend was unharmed. With matters before the family court at the time, Mr Frisk was reluctant to seek medical help. But it wasn't long before his injuries began impacting his working life. A former employee in the mines, and with no insurance cover, Mr Fisk had to leave his job. It was around this time that his mum in Bundaberg was looking to sell her house and Mr Fisk decided to move back to his home town. He got work at a local firm as a field hand but the physicality took its toll and sometimes after three solid days of work he would find he couldn't get out of bed. He then found work at a sports club, but being on his feet all day made his aches worse. Finally, after losing many jobs and friends, in 2012 he saw his doctor who sent him to a specialist for x-rays. The scans revealed his L3, 4 and 5 were sitting on top of each other - bone on bone. He underwent a seven-and-a-half hour surgery in 2014 where doctors inserted what he calls "shock absorbers" between the vertebrae. It was the first time the surgery had been trialled and only had a 50% chance of success. Relief lasted for about a month before he was back with the surgeon, who said there was nothing more he could do. "He said to me, 'you're falling apart, mate'." His body is also riddled with arthritis and scoliosis. "You get used to the pain," he said, "but you still have those three or four days where it's unbearable." He gets little sleep, waking up at 3 or 4am every day and, living on acreage, even yard work takes its toll. "After I have a cup of tea and a few cones I can feel my shoulders just relax - my whole body," he said. Now, with nowhere else to turn, Mr Fisk is desperate. He wants Queensland to get on board and make medicinal cannabis available to everyone in pain as he is. "It's a weed, it's been here as long as we have," he said. Mr Fisk said he would happily forego the marijuana if he was prescribed medicinal cannabis. Originally published here:

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