A dental technician and mother of four, Ana Alvarez lives in a flat in Lima that she has converted into a cannabis laboratory. It is, she says, for the love of her son that she has become one of Peru’s leading advocates for liberalising drug laws in the conservative country.
Her mission started out as a desperate search for something to alleviate her son Anthony’s multiple daily seizures. Alvarez ended up turning part of her home into an improvised lab and informal medical practice where patients can be prescribed marijuana derivatives as a palliative for terminal illness, cancer or multiple sclerosis.
Now 17, Anthony suffers from a rare and severe form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, as well as tuberous sclerosis, which causes tumours to grow on the brain and other organs.
Fitting up to eight times a day, Anthony last year suffered a psychotic episode