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AIDS Drug Test Scandal Still Haunts NYC Child Welfare Bigs

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I submitted this Op Ed Piece to The New York Times, but for whatever reason they aren't going to print it. It touches on a festering scandal.

Back in December of 2004 the BBC aired a television program that was called "Guinea Pig Kids." This program exposed unethical and cruel drug experiments made on New York City foster children who were presumed to be HIV positive during the decades of the 80's and 90's. At the time the program created a stir and ACS Commissioner Mattingly, while defending the actions of his agency, announced that he was commissioning the VERA Institute for Justice (An ACS contract agency) to investigate the matter.

Leslie Kaufman reported this in these pages on April 23, 2005 in an article entitled "Private Firm to Investigate AIDS Charges Against City." At that time Ms. Kaufman did not note the already existing relationship between ACS and VERA. Be that as it may, more than a year has passed since Mr. Mattingly announced this investigation.

The charges leveled in the BBC television production were neither trifling nor originating from marginal sources. BBC quoted a well respected New York attorney, David Lansner, as saying of The Administration for Children's Services (ACS):
"They're essentially out of control, I've had many ACS case workers tell me: 'We're ACS, we can do whatever we want' and they usually get away with it."

Dr. David Rasnick, visiting scholar at the University of Berkeley said of some of the experiments:"We're talking about serious, serious side-effects. These children are going to be absolutely miserable. They're going to have cramps, diarrhea and their joints are going to swell up. They're going to roll around the ground and you can't touch them."

Dr. Rasnick described some of the drugs, supplied by major international pharmaceutical houses, as "lethal."

BBC reported that recalcitrant children were force fed the medications in these Phase I and Phase II tests by peg tube through the stomach at Incarnation House, one of the social service agencies that hosted the experiments.

Phase I and Phase II tests are the initial rounds of testing on experimental drugs conducted not to provide any therapeutic value but to see how poisonous the drug is and to see if the drug has any impact whatever on the disease being treated. There was no scientific basis at all to assume that the drugs were not dangerous to the children and that they had any therapeutic value at all.

It's been a year now since Commissioner Mattingly announced that the Vera Foundation for Justice, an ACS contract agency with no known medical expertise, was going to investigate the tests. Vera announced that it was going to "provide the public with information about what happened to these children and help shape future policies regarding clinical trials and children in government custody."

An objective investigation would be more specific. It' would be find out who authorized these experiments on foster children in order that they answer appropriately for their actions.

Eugene Weixel

I am a ten year veteran child protective worker, with extensive experience in the most difficult types of child abuse cases and long time whistle blower at ACS. I am currently fighting an unlawful dismissal from the agency.

I can be reached at 917-680-xxxx and my weblog is

60 year old veteran child abuse investigator, whistleblower and night cabbie in New York City.
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