Drugging our Kids; Children in California’s foster care system are prescribed unproven, risky medications at alarming rates. – The Mercury News, 2014.
This is an important article for all parents of special needs children, all parents and citizens of the world. In it, the author describes the how the State of California prescribes psychiatric drugs to children in the foster system rather than addressing the causes of their discomfort- unstable living environments and broken hearts. These drugs are sometimes prescribed to children as young as 5 years of age and are being prescribed to 60 percent of the children in foster care. While medication is, of course, indicated in some circumstances, the author points out that psych meds are being prescribed to “manage” children’s behavior and make them sleep at night even though these are off-label uses of the drugs. The article also discusses the serious long and short-term health effects (including diabetes) of these drugs, particularly the anti-psychotic ones and that prescribers often minimize the long-term effects of their use.
In this office, we have also witnessed the mistreatment and over prescription of medication to children in state certified residential treatment programs. Even though these children have, in many cases, loving and involved parents, there can be a lack of transparency made possible because the students are away from home. Thus, it is important for everyone to be made aware of the possibility of prescriber negligence and the need for better oversight and management of all children who receive psychiatric drugs.