Mother Urges Government To Allow Wider Prescriptions Of Cannabis For Her 9-Year-Old Son
A British mother is pleading with the government to allow wider prescriptions of cannabis medicine for her nine-year-old son and other families.
Earlier this year, Hannah Deacon was informed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that a special prescription from the Netherlands would no longer be available next year due to Brexit, years after a campaign saw her son Alfie Dingley become the first patient in the UK to receive a permanent cannabis licence.
Alfie has a rare form of epilepsy which can cause up to 150 seizures a week if not properly treated. While the UK legalised cannabis-based medicines in 2018, they’re only available on an extremely limited basis, forcing families who’ve had their prescriptions rejected to seek out expensive private healthcare, access it abroad or acquire it illegally.
It’s believed only three cannabis prescriptions have been issued on the NHS since 2018. As per the Mirror Online, around 100 families spend up to £2,000 a month for private doctors, with at least 1.4 million people sourcing cannabis illegally.
Alfie’s mum still has to legally source Bedrolite oil from Amsterdam under her prescription, which has kept him seizure-free for more than a year. ‘It’s disgraceful doctors have to advise patients to use the illegal black market because they cannot prescribe,’ Deacon said. While she’s been offered alternatives for Alfie, doctors have said it’s ‘not like swapping one type of aspirin for another.’
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) earlier said there isn’t enough ‘pharmaceutical grade evidence’ to support further approval on the NHS, despite contrary findings from Drug Science and Project Twenty21 data, not to mention developments in the US with legalising the drug.
In June, Deacon penned a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for reforms on medical cannabis to ‘ease the suffering’ of families across the country.
‘This abominable situation is putting the power of some of these children’s wellbeing at the hands of criminals. As a parent, you would do anything to ease the suffering of your child and that is what we are seeing: desperate parents forced to purchase dangerous products off the black market to treat their children with substandard, dangerous, and most importantly illegal products,’ the letter reads.
‘I believe that together we can sort this mess out. I implore you to listen, not just as our Prime Minister but as a fellow parent. You and you alone have the power to make this right, so I implore you to please take this letter seriously,’ Deacon wrote.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We recognise the huge challenges faced by children living with rare and hard to treat conditions. The government changed the law to allow specialist doctors to prescribe unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use where it is clinically appropriate and in the best interests of patients.’
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