Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 7 Share on Facebook 4 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit 1 Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 19 (31 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   2 comments
General News

Are Foster Children Overmedicated? Government Seeks Improved Guidelines

By       Message Martha Rosenberg     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 6/23/12

Author 1353
Become a Fan
  (78 fans)
- Advertisement -

It is no secret that foster children can be dangerously overmedicated. Three years ago, Mirko and Regina Ceska of Crawfordville, FLA told former Gov. Charlie Crist their two adopted 12-year-olds had been prescribed 11 pills a day, including the powerful antipsychotic Seroquel, reported the Tampa Bay Times.

"These girls were overdosed and would fall asleep right in front of us several times a day," Mirko Ceska told Crist at an "Explore Adoption Day'' event. "It seems to be a prerequisite for foster children to be on medication," said Ceska, calling the pills "chemical restraint."

- Advertisement -

The couple's remarks came on the heels of the suicide of Gabriel Myers, a 7-year-old in Florida foster care who was prescribed psychiatric drugs, including Symbyax, not approved for children because of links to suicidal thinking. More than 15 percent of 20,000 foster care children in Florida are medicated, says the Times and doctors and case managers treating medicated 6- and 7-year-olds "routinely failed to complete legally required treatment plans, share information or properly document the prescribing of powerful psychiatric drugs."

Now, less than a year after passage of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (which requires state child welfare agencies to adopt "protocols for the appropriate use and monitoring of psychotropic medications" for children) three government agencies--the Administration for Children and Families, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration--are convening a meeting with hundreds of state officials to address medication guidelines on August 27 and 28.

"This is an urgent issue, and child-centered organizations and individuals need to let state and federal administrators, Congress and state legislators know that it needs immediate action," says Edward Opton, a psychologist and lawyer involved in child welfare issues. "The medical literature shows no studies of the long-term effects of antipsychotic drugs on children, including drugs for so-called conduct disorder, the condition for which they are most frequently prescribed to children. There are no data on drugged vs. undrugged children with respect to completion of school, employment, early pregnancy, imprisonment, or subjective quality of life as evaluated by the children or by anyone else."


Both private and public youth facilities have been plagued with scandals.   One large provider, Universal Health Services Inc., known as the "Standard Oil of mental illness," recently agreed to pay $6.85 million to the U.S. and the state of Virginia to settle allegations that its Keystone Marion Youth Center provided "substandard psychiatric counseling and treatment to adolescents in violation of Medicaid requirements, falsified records and submitted false claims to the Medicaid program." It chose to close the youth center.

- Advertisement -


Are Youth Centers Overusing Expensive Pills? by Martha Rosenberg

There were two suicides in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice's system of eight facilities between September 2008 and September 2009 and a follow-up report disclosed that a full   98 percent of the children are on psychoactive drugs.

Like the elderly in state care, children in state care prove tempting targets for both disreputable operators and Big Pharma because they do not make their own medication decisions, they are covered by public funds and the designation of behavioral problems in such settings is seldom questioned. Profit schemes often involve expensive antipsychotics like Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal and Geodon whose safety and efficacy are in dispute, especially in children and the elderly.

In 2007, Bristol-Myers Squibb settled a federal suit for $515 million charging that it illegally hawked the antipsychotic Abilify to children and the elderly, bilking taxpayers. The next year, the state of Texas charged Janssen with defrauding the state of millions with "a sophisticated and fraudulent marketing scheme," to "secure a spot for the drug, Risperdal, on the state's Medicaid preferred drug list and on controversial medical protocols that determine which drugs are given to adults and children in state custody." Soon after, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Connecticut, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Arkansas and Texas took Big Pharma to court over the antipsychotic spree.

When, during the same time period, the state of Florida began requiring doctors to get approval for high priced antipsychotics before giving them to kids under age six on Medicaid, more evidence of overmedication emerged: prescriptions for the pills dropped from 3,167 in 2007 to 844 in 2008, reported the Tampa Bay Times. END

Martha Rosenberg's top selling health policy book, Born with a Junk Food Deficiency, was released in April by Prometheus Books.

- Advertisement -

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon



Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Grassley Investigates Lilly/WebMD link Reported by Washington Post

The Drug Store in Your Tap Water

It's the Cymbalta Stupid

Are You Sure You're Not Psychotic Asks Shameless Drug Company?

Another Poorly Regulated "Derivative"--the Antidepressant Pristiq

MRSA and More. Antibiotics Linked to Obesity and Allergies, Too