United Kingdom authorities release confiscated cannabis after boy hospitalized

Cheryl Sanders
June 17, 2018

Billy's mother Charlotte Caldwell had pleaded publicly for the medication to be returned to her son, after it was confiscated in Heathrow airport on their return from Canada on Monday.

Billy Caldwell, a young boy with epilepsy from Northern Ireland, has been granted his life-changing medicinal cannabis oil treatment after he ended up in hospital when it was seized in London.

After a week-long struggle, Home Secretary Sajid Javid used "an exceptional power" on Saturday to return some of the medicine confiscated from the mother when she tried to bring it into the United Kingdom from Canada.

"My decision is based on the advice of senior clinicians who have made clear this is a medical emergency".

Speaking outside the hospital on Saturday, his mother Charlotte said: "Unfortunately, Billy had two more seizures overnight which has pushed him more into a crisis situation".

Billy's mother says she wants to discuss Billy's future with MPs on Monday: "I want to meet the Home Secretary and Health Secretary (Jeremy Hunt), urgently, this week, to get assurance that not only will Billy's meds never again be removed, but to call for an urgent review of the overall policy on medical cannabis as it affects everyone who could benefit".

Billy, who is also autistic, with pronounced communication difficulties, suffered back-to-back seizures on Friday after being seizure-free for more than 300 days when he was previously given the cannabis oil, according to his family.

The oil was initially confiscated at Heathrow airport after Charlotte attempted to bring it into the country.

The Caldwell family, who normally live in Northern Ireland, have received support from several members of parliament from different political parties.

He was taken to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on Friday after the frequency of his seizures increased.

"My experience leaves me in no doubt that the Home Office can no longer play a role in the administration of medication for sick children in our country".

Billy Caldwell had been receiving medicinal cannabis oil on prescription by his family doctor for over a year, but supplies ran out after the Home Office ordered the doctor to stop prescribing it.

He became the first person in the United Kingdom to receive a prescription after his local GP in Northern Ireland, Brendan O'Hare, began writing scripts.

She vowed to keep up her fight to allow others in the United Kingdom to have access to the medication they need. Schedule 1 drugs can be used for research purposes and clinical trials, but only under a Home Office licence.

The case has revived the debate over medical marijuana use in Britain.

Billy will get the medication sometime after 2pm today.

But Dr O'Hare was summoned to a meeting with Home Office officials recently and told to stop.

The young boy went 19 months without a seizure while he was using the cannabis to treat his condition.

He became the first person in the United Kingdom to receive a prescription after his local GP in Northern Ireland, Brendan O'Hare, began writing scripts.

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