The Department of Social and Health Services, which took the child from Fisher’s estranged wife, ordered an assessment of Fisher before placing the baby with him. Although he has an authorization to use the drug for pain from a back injury he suffered in 2007, a chemical dependency assessment trainee in Spokane recommended 30 days of inpatient drug treatment for his use of marijuana. Fisher, who said he turned to marijuana when opiate-based painkillers left him unable to work, or even function normally, balked. He mainly uses oils to kill the pain, and only smokes occasionally when the oils aren’t effective.
He got another assessment from a chemical dependency expert in Kirkland who argued that Fisher was not addicted to marijuana, although he may be dependent on it. The expert, John O’Malley, told Family Law Commissioner Valerie Jolicoeur he believed there was a distinction. Chemical dependency means a person needs a drug to perform daily functions but it doesn’t have a negative effect on his life; an addict can’t stop taking a drug, even though it causes problems for his job, his family or his health.