The 12-year-old boy with epilepsy whose condition sparked a national conversation on the UK’s drug policy is heading home amid uncertainty about access to his cannabis-based medication.
After public outrage over the confiscation of Billy Caldwell’s medicine at Heathrow airport, the home secretary, Sajid Javid, granted a licence for cannabis oil to be administered to the boy at home. But Billy’s family, including his mother, Charlotte Caldwell, say there is no clarity on when the confiscated medicine will be released to him in Northern Ireland.
“While the Home Office in London and Charlotte’s MP, Órfhlaith Begley, have done an amazing job in getting us this far, the Department of Health in Northern Ireland have not confirmed that Billy’s medication will be available,” said a spokesman.
The Home Office will give the captain of the flight being taken by the family “secure custody” of the medicine and he must give it to authorities in Belfast upon arrival.
Last year, Billy became the first child to be prescribed medicinal cannabis oil on the NHS. He then reportedly went 300 days without a seizure. But the Home Office later ordered his GP not to renew the prescription as it contravened UK law.