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UPDATE: As of June 16th, 2018, Billy Caldwell has resumed using cannabis medicine. After his admission to the hospital and requests from doctors calling his situation a “medical emergency,” the Home Office delivered the cannabis oil to the facility treating him. Currently, it must be administered by the hospital, and his permit for use will only last 20 days.
The love and devotion a parent feels toward a child is an emotion unlike any other. Parents will do things in order to protect their children that they would never consider doing otherwise. That may be why so many parents with special needs and medically fragile children end up advocating for cannabis legalization. They understand that it could only take one moment for them to lose custody and even their freedom when trying to help their beloved child.
A mother in Ireland may soon face serious penalties due to her quest to save her son. Charlotte Caldwell wasn’t looking for a legal fight. Instead, she just wanted to keep her son on the cannabis oil that is helping to save his life. Her 12-year-old son, named Billy, who has suffered as many as 100 seizures a day in the past.
In order to keep Billy safe, his mother has had to sleep in bed with him so that she knows when he has a seizure. Billy received a prescription for cannabis from his doctors, making news by being the first person in the UK ever to receive one. That didn’t end his story, however, as his mother continued to his his social media presence to push for better access to cannabis for all of his “buddies” who would also benefit from cannabis medicines.
Eventually, officials from the Home Office told Billy’s doctor to stop writing the cannabis recommendation. His doctor had to stop recommending it, meaning that Billy’s mother could no longer legally purchase his medicine. Faced with an impossible decision, she did what any parent with the means would do; she traveled internationally to secure cannabis oil to help stop her son’s seizures.
Charlotte Caldwell traveled with her son to Canada, knowing that she could face criminal charges upon her return home. When she got off the plane, someone from the Home Office was waiting for her. The cannabis oil intended to save Billy’s life was confiscated, and Charlotte and Billy were released.
This family may now have no option but to turn to underground, unregulated medicines as a means of stopping Billy’s seizures. This tragic story perfectly illustrates the hypocrisy and tragedy of the War on Drugs all over the world. A doctor in the United Kingdom felt that this boy would benefit from cannabis medicine. It turned out that he improved greatly with safe access to cannabis oil. Now, in order to blindly enforce prohibitionist policies, there are outside forces intervening in a patient-doctor relationship and law enforcement officials taking needed medicine away from a desperate mother.
The family has asked for the return of the oil, but the UK has denied the plea to protect Billy from the ravages of future seizures. You can show your support for the Caldwells by following their story on the Keep Billy Alive Facebook page. Their story, and the stories of countless others who have to fight for a medicine that can save the lives of their children, should serve as a powerful reminder that the War isn’t over. With the whole world watching, maybe medical and legal officials in the UK will make the right choice regarding the Caldwell family.
For previous Ladybud articles discussing epilepsy, click here.
Photo Credit: All images shared publicly on the Keep Billy Alive Facebook page