Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is Your Foster Child on Chemical Restraints?

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.”

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 sought to improve protocols for psychotropic medications in 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.

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

An interview with Martha Rosenberg about her new book Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, will air on C-SPAN 2’s Book TV After Words on Sat. July 7 at 10 PM, Sun. July 8 at 9 PM and Mon, July 9 at 12 AM and 3 AM, Eastern Time Zone.

Martha Rosenberg’s is an investigative health reporter. Her first book,  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, has just been released by Prometheus books.

 

More articles by:

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

October 18, 2018
Dean Baker
How Big is Big? Trump, the NYT and Foreign Aid
Vern Loomis
The Boofing of America
October 17, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
When Saudi Arabia’s Credibility is Damaged, So is America’s
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
David N. Smith
George Orwell’s Message in a Bottle
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail