Saskatoon Patients’ Lives Changed by Compassion Club

The police raid of the Saskatchewan Compassion Club in Saskatoon has affected many patients who are now no longer able to access the medicine they need.

Operator Mark Hauk put out a call for testimonials from club members, asking for their stories of how their lives had improved thanks to the dispensary.

“These patients are desperate,” Hauk said. “They’re feeling very violated. They want justice and want to know what they can do as citizens.”

Beverly Schindelka said since the closure of the dispensary, her quality of life has dropped dramatically. Schindelka suffers from Addison’s disease and cancer, both of which cause her pain and nausea, she is also deathly allergic to most medications typically used to treat her illnesses.

Schindelka is legally prescribed medicinal cannabis but can’t use the supply from government licensed producers due to her condition.

“Contrary to what the police and mayor have been telling people, you can not purchase cannabis from any Health Canada mail-in prescriptions place, in any form, except for the dry smokable form,” Schindelka said. “I am on oxygen 24 hours a day. Smoking is not an option for me. My home is full of oxygen tanks.”

Before using cannabis, Schindelka said she spent months in the hospital trying to manage her symptoms.

The compassion club supplied Schindelka with the cannabis she was legally allowed in edible and suppository form, but now she has no access to this medication.

“The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a patient who is prescribed cannabis also has the legal and human right to be able to take their medication in forms other than smoking it,” Schindelka said.  “My rights have been violated and my health is much more difficult to manage.”

Schindelka said since the raid she has been forced to, once again, inject herself with more than eight pharmaceuticals to control her severe nausea and vomiting. These drugs have many side effects which require her to take even more narcotics, which in turn increase her pain and illness, a process she describes as “a viscous circle.”

“Before I used cannabis to treat my severe pain and nausea, my vomiting had resulted in tearing my stomach and vomiting blood,” she said. “There are again days where I spend hours wrapped around my toilet throwing up.”

“This past week has been terrible again, and my risk of tearing my stomach is once again a real possibility.”

The physical toll this has taken on her body has resulted in the need to take more steroids to manage and control her Addison’s disease, making it difficult to avoid a “life-threatening adrenal crisis.”

Unable to sleep and in too much pain to do more than vomit, Schindelka said she’s been forced to put her life on hold.

“I am one of the victims of the raid by police on the Saskatchewan Compassion Club,” Schindelka said.

Hauk is still organizing a class action claim with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, which he hopes will force local government and police to allow patients to have access to their medicine once again.

In the meantime, Schindelka, and dozens of others, remain in a desperate state — already having had their lives changed by cannabis, only to have it taken away.