Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Boy's 'life-saving' cannabis oil is confiscated at Heathrow

A mother has vowed to return to Canada to get more cannabis oil used to treat her son's severe epilepsy after having a supply confiscated at Heathrow Airport.

Charlotte Caldwell bought the cannabis oil - which keeps her sick son seizure free - legally in Canada and announced she would be "openly smuggling" it into the United Kingdom in protest against the UK's drug laws.

It was from there that she tried to bring in a supply to help 12-year-old Billy with his severe epilepsy.

Charlotte, from Co Tyrone in Northern Ireland, told a press conference: 'It's Billy's anti-epileptic medication that [Home Office minister] Nick Hurd has taken away, it's not some sort of joint full of recreational cannabis, it is his anti-epileptic medication that he has taken off me at the airport today.

Billy became the first person in the United Kingdom to receive the treatment on the NHS after his GP Brendan O'Hare began writing prescriptions. One had tears in his eyes as they took the drug from her, she said.

But she was not cautioned when she was stopped after a flight into London from Canada.

"The reason they don't do it is that it can cause really bad side-effects - they wean them down slowly", she said.

"What Nick Hurd has just done is most likely signed my son's death warrant".

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Ms Caldwell, from Castlederg, said she was "absolutely devastated" to have the supply confiscated after she declared it to border officials.

But when she landed back at Heathrow airport yesterday it was seized, meaning Billy would miss his first treatment in 19 months. She said she would meet the Home Office minister Nick Hurd on Monday afternoon to plead to get the oil back.

"I am praying now that we can get medicinal cannabis accessible to all the other children, and give their mummies and daddies back their right to hope, but most importantly give their children back their right to life". "I take the view that I'd rather have my son illegally alive than legally dead".

The Home Office said it was sympathetic to what it called the hard and rare situation of Billy Caldwell and his family, but the border force had a duty to stop banned substances from entering Britain.

Billy was first given the treatment in the United States, where medical marijuana is legal.

She was forced to travel to Canada last week after officials warned her GP that he faced serious consequences if he continued to write prescriptions for medicinal cannabis.

The doctor was summoned to a meeting with Home Office officials recently and told to desist.

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