Family's brave story saves lives

Cheri and Tara O'Connell
Cheri and Tara O'Connell

THE Mia Mia family responsible for turning the tide on the medical cannabis debate say it was never about them - it was about the hundreds of other people who could be saved if the drug was legalised.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews last week met Tara O'Connell, who suffers from a severe form of epilepsy which has ceased since she started taking cannabis oil in 2012.

After the meeting, Mr Andrews decided to push for the legalisation of cannabis oil for medicinal use.

As it stands, Tara's parents Cheri and David must go to a dealer and get the drug illegally. They live in constant fear that the police or Department of Human Services will knock on their door and arrest them.

If they were forced to stop using the oil, their eight-year-old would die.

But, if Labor comes into power after the November election, it will all change.

Those with terminal illnesses or life-threatening conditions would have legal access to medical cannabis, which many people are already accessing behind closed doors.

Victoria's Health Minister David Davis said he needed more evidence before the Coalition government made a decision on medical marijuana. 

But Ms O'Connell said testing had occurred overseas and legalisation would in fact be a safer option.  

"Currently, these families are hiding the fact they are using medical cannabis and many are even making it at home which is a lot more risky. We want to be able to safely access the oil from a GP like any other medicine and this will allow this."

Since revealing their story, Ms O'Connell said hundreds of people had turned to medical cannabis for a cure.

"Coming out was never about us, it was about those other families in need who are having to do it secretly," she said.

"Since we went public, 370 children are using medical cannabis and getting help.

"That's why we need this framework so it's out in the open."

She said there was no denying the benefit medical cannabis could bring.

"Mr Andrews was blown away when looking at Tara's records. You can clearly see the difference when it's put in front of you. All we want is to share these documents with the current government. We want to prove to them that it does change people's lives."

HELPED: Tara O'Connell has made a difference.

HELPED: Tara O'Connell has made a difference.


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