Tag Archives: psychotropic drugs

ABC News: Doctors Put Foster Children at Risk With Mind-Altering Drugs

In Florida, regulators have been grappling with that question since a 7-year-old boy, Gabriel Myers, killed himself in 2009 after being prescribed a powerful mix of psychotropic medication.

His psychiatrist, Dr. Sohail Punjwani, had, at different times, prescribed two drugs that carry black box labels — warning of the need to carefully monitor patients because of the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, which call for careful monitoring. However, even though Gabriel visited Punjwani’s office seven times, his foster father said Gabriel usually only spent about five minutes talking to the doctor.

Georgia Advocate Speaks Out Against Psychiatric Medication Use in Nation’s Foster Care System

Alongside photographs of rocker Jon Bon Jovi and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Giovan Bazan looks downright blithe. Although they tower over him, the tuxedo-clad Bazan wearing a slight smirk, his gelled hair and pierced ears sharply contrasting his suit-and-tie apparel.

With his cheery disposition, you wouldn’t suspect Bazan had a troubled childhood. In reality, the 21-year-old has spent a majority of his life in foster homes, and for most of his childhood, he was prescribed anti-depressants and behavioral disorder drugs.

“I went into foster care at 11 months old,” the Los Angeles native said. “When I was six, they put me on medication.”

By many accounts Bazan has come a long way since his days in foster care. In September he spoke at Atlanta-based CHRIS KIDS‘ 11th annual fundraiser alongside towering protraits of celebrities. He has adressed state legislature multiple times about issues pressing foster youth in the state. He has managed to turn his troubled childhood into a stepping stone, not a crux.

Shy children now candidates for dangerous psychiatric drugs

New guidelines for mental illness turn shyness in children from a personality trait into a mental disorder that warrants drug treatment. Drug companies already target children, who fidget too much in class or have trouble concentrating on their homework, with stimulant drugs for treating attention deficit disorder. Now children who sit too quietly or are more withdrawn than their peers will also be targeted with medication for social anxiety disorder or depression.

The mass overmedication of foster children with psychiatric drugs

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute, about 4 percent of the general youth population has received prescriptions for these drugs during the past decade. By comparison, the numbers for children in foster care fall between 13 and 52 percent. This study corroborates the findings of similar studies conducted in Texas and Georgia during the same time period.

There are several debatable factors that can explain the disparity in prescription rates between children in foster care and the general youth population. While foster children may appear to suffer from a higher rate of behavioral and mental health concerns, many of these behavioral issues arise as a natural response to trauma and domestic stress, and are being improperly diagnosed as mental health disorders.