An investigation into the massive drugging of kids in Florida juvenile jails has uncovered psychiatric doctors with deplorable records working for the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Their histories include not only grand theft and medical malpractice, but overmedicating patients to the point of death.
In a series of outstanding articles in the Palm Beach Post, reporter Michael Laforgia lays out the heinous trail of a still unfolding investigation. It began with an expose that children in state custody were receiving heavy dosages of powerful antipsychotics; in two years, Florida bought hundreds of thousands of these tablets with no DJJ tracking system in place to detect practitioner abuse. This led to a finding that doctors giving the diagnoses had taken huge speaker fees or gifts from drug companies that make antipsychotics.
The Post’s newest article reveals psychiatrists working in the juvenile justice system whose records should have barred them. “Some psychiatrists took DJJ jobs after they were cited for breaking the law, making grave medical missteps or violating state rules,” writes Laforgia. “Others were hired after they were accused of overmedicating patients, sometimes fatally. All were empowered to prescribe drugs to jailed kids as powerful antipsychotic pills flowed freely into Florida’s homes for wayward children.”