Posts Tagged ‘Foster Children’

Missouri Foster Care Proposed Legislation

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

[See our previous newsletter on drugging foster care children in Missouri.]

Here is another piece of proposed legislation for protecting foster care children from being needlessly poisoned by psychiatric drugs. Contact your state legislators about this. (This applies to any state, not just Missouri.)

FOR THE STATE OF MISSOURI

PROPOSED REGULATION

Entitled: “CHEMICAL ABUSE: ENDANGERING THE HEALTH OF A CHILD OR YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE.”

WHEREAS: Child endangerment refers to an act or omission that renders a child subject to psychological, emotional or physical abuse. The child who is subjected to such endangerment is called an abused child or a neglected child. Endangerment that results in serious physical illness or injury is a felony.1

WHEREAS: Reckless Endangerment consists of acts that create a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. The accused person isn’t required to intend the resulting or potential harm, but must have acted in a way that showed a disregard for the foreseeable consequences of the actions.2

WHEREAS: The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2010 (CAPTA) defines “child abuse and neglect” as meaning, “at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act,” which “results in death, serious physical or emotional harm…”3

WHEREAS: Psychotropic medications have adverse effects including: stroke,4 pancreatitis5, obesity, with children taking atypical antipsychotics adding eight to fifteen percent to their weight after the drugs for less than 12 weeks.6 A variety of drugs targeted towards the central nervous system are associated with cardiac side effects, including arrhythmia and sudden death.7 Type 2 diabetes is associated with some atypical antipsychotics.8 Symptoms of psychosis or mania, particularly hallucinations, are linked to methylphenidate (ADHD) drugs9, suicidality10, violent behavior11, agitation, hostility and impulsivity in antidepressants12, akathisia (drug-induced restlessness) in antidepressants and antipsychotics13, tardive dyskinesia (permanent impairment of voluntary movement) and other movement disorders14, and gynecomastia (female breast growth in boys prescribed the antipsychotic Risperdal).15 Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a severe iatrogenic and potentially fatal complication of antipsychotics.16 At least 20 psychotropic drugs have been linked to violent behavior, with reports of homicide, physical assaults, cases indicating physical abuse, homicidal ideation, and cases described as violence-related symptoms.17 Mood stabilizer drugs are associated with behavioral problems, including aggression and hyperactivity.18

WHEREAS: Foster children are being given cocktails of these powerful drugs and federal inspectors found more than half the children nationwide were poorly monitored.19 The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that between 20 and 39 percent of foster care children are prescribed psychotropic drugs.20 The Congressional Research Service found the number of children in foster care taking a psychiatric drug was more than four times the rate among children overall.21 One in nine children in foster care is prescribed antipsychotics, with potential life-debilitating and life-threatening effects.22

RECOMMENDATION

AMEND: Foster Care regulations to protect foster children and youths from the prescription of psychotropic drugs that can result in physical abuse or injury or endanger the child’s health.

The regulation addresses any child or youth under the care of state Child and Family Services in respect to: i) psychotropic drugs prescribed and administered them, ii) off-label prescribing, and iii) the observation of serious adverse effects of the prescribed psychotropic drugs and neglecting or failing to discontinue the medication, and where such acts result in disfiguring, physically damaging or life-threatening injury or effect to the child or youth. Therefore:

a) Such an act shall be considered chemical abuse.

b) Chemical abuse shall constitute “child abuse,” punishable in accordance with state child abuse laws.

 

References

1 “Child Endangerment Law and Legal Definition,” https://definitions.uslegal.com/c/child-endangerment/

2 “Reckless Endangerment Law and Legal Definition,” https://definitions.uslegaLcom/r/reckless-endangerment/

3 http://www.childsworld.ca.gov/res/OCAP/CAPTA-FactSheet.pdf

4 http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/lawsuit/adderall.html#.UzJJqs7Xlqw

5 “Pancreatitis Risk Seen in Schizophrenia Drugs,” The New York Times, 2 Sept. 2003, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/02/health/pancreatitis-risk-seen-in-schizophrenia-drugs.html

6 Duff Wilson, “Weight Gain Associated with Antipsychotic Drugs,” The New York Times, 27 Oct 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/business/28psych.html

“Drugged as Children, Foster-Care Alumni Speak Out, Use of Powerful Antipsychotics on Youths in Such Homes Comes Under Greater Scrutiny,” The Wall Street Journal, 23 Feb 2014, http://online.wsj.com/news/artic!es/SB10001424052702303442704579361333470749104

7 http://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0301/p617.html; “Psychotropic Drugs, Cardiac Arrhythmia, and Sudden Death,” J Clin Psychopharmacol, 2003;23: 58-77; http://resources.childhealthcare.org/resources/Psychotropic_Meds__Arrhythmia_and_Sudden_Death.pdf

8 http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/PUarticles/antipsychdiabetes.htm; http://www.jabfm.org/content/16/3/251.full.pdf

9 https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4210b_11_01_AdverseEvents.pdf

10 https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/UCM173233.pdf; https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4210b_11_01_AdverseEvents.pdf

11 https://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4210b_11_01_AdverseEvents.pdf

12 “Worsening Depression and Suicidality in Patients Being Treated with Antidepressants Medications,” US Food and Drug Administration Public Health Advisory, 22 Mar. 2004.

13 “Worsening Depression and Suicidality in Patients Being Treated with Antidepressants Medications,” US Food and Drug Administration Public Health Advisory, 22 Mar. 2004.

14 “Anti-Psychotic Drugs Like Risperdal Overprescribed in Foster Children,” The Legal Examiner, 6 May 2014, http://newyork.legalexaminer.com/fda-prescription-drugs/anti-psychotic-drugs-like-risperdal-overprescribed-in-foster-children/

15 http://www.drugwatch.com/risperdal/

16 “Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome in Children and Adolescents on Atypical Antipsychotic Medication: A Review,” J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2009 Aug; 19(4): 415-422, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2861947/

17 Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen, Curt D. Furbert, “Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others,” Public Library of Science ONE, Vol. 5, Iss. 12, December 2010.

18 Elisabetta Patorno, et al., “Anticonvulsant Medications and the Risk of Suicide, Attempted Suicide, or Violent Death,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 303, No. 14, April 14, 2010; http://jama.jamanetwork.com/articJe.aspx?articleid=185674 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20388896.

19 “Federal study finds alarming use of antipsychotics among nation’s poor children, foster kids,” CalNews.com., 30 Mar. 2015, https//calnews.com/2015/03/30/federal-study-finds-alarming-use-of-antipsychotics-among-nations-poor-children-foster-kids/

20 Kelly Patricia O’Meara, “Congress Saying Foster Kids are ‘Over-drugged’ is Like Saying Nuclear Waste is ‘Overly-toxic,’” 3 June 2014, http://www.cchrint.org/2014/06/03/congress-saying-foster-kids-are-over-drugged-is-like-saying-nuclear-waste-is-overly-toxic/

21 Op. Cit., Kelly Patricia O’Meara, “Congress Saying Foster Kids…”

22 “New study finds that drugs for schizophrenics are regularly dispensed to foster kids,” Business Insider, 9 June 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/many -foster -kids-medicated-with-antipsychotics-2016-6

Take Action – Missouri Legislature – Foster Care

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Periodically we let you know the progress of various proposed legislation making its way through the Missouri General Assembly and suggest ways for you to contribute your viewpoint to your state Representative and state Senator.

You can find your Representative and Senator, and their contact information, by entering your 9-digit zip code here.

This time, we’d like to discuss Senate Bill SB160, which Creates the Foster Care Bill of Rights, sponsored by Senator David Sater (R, District 29).

“This act establishes and enumerates the Foster Care Bill of Rights. The Children’s Division shall provide every school-aged foster child and his or her foster parent with an age-appropriate orientation and explanation of the bill of rights, as well as make them readily available and easily accessible online. Additionally, every Children’s Division office, residential care facility, child placing agency, or other agency involved in the care and placement of foster children shall post the bill of rights in the office, facility, or agency.”

This foster care bill of rights is primarily concerned with familial stability, which we think is a good thing. We would like to suggest an amendment aimed at reducing the amount of harmful psychotropic drugs regularly given to foster children in Missouri’s care.

Missouri Foster Care serves individuals age 0 to 21; not all states provide care to age 21. In FY2014 Missouri extended Medicaid benefits up to age 26 for individuals who have aged out of foster care. Medicaid pays for the psychotropic drugs given to foster children.

The high rates of psychotropic medication use in the Medicaid population, risks associated with these drugs, and research documenting inappropriate prescribing, have raised concerns, especially for children involved in the child welfare system.

Studies suggest that appropriate prescribing practices, that is, adhering to FDA-approved use and accepted clinical guidelines, may not always be followed for certain Medicaid populations such as the high-risk populations of children in foster care. In actual fact, multiple studies and reports have found that children in foster care are vulnerable to inappropriate or excessive medication use. Children in foster care are often prescribed more than one psychotropic medication at the same time. A review in Missouri once found some children in foster care prescribed five or more psychotropic drugs.

Psychotropic Drug Classes given to children in Missouri foster care (contact CCHR STL at CCHRSTL@CCHRSTL.ORG  for the complete report, or download it from cchrstl.org/foster.shtml):

ADHD
Antianxiety
AntidepressantAntipsychotic_Combo
Antidepressants_MAOIs
Antidepressants_SSRIsAndSimilar
Antidepressants_Tricyclics
Antipsychotics_FirstGeneration
Antipsychotics_SecondGeneration
Barbiturates
Bipolar Disorder
InsomniaNarcolepsySleepDisorders

Total foster care drug costs in Missouri have averaged roughly $16 Million per year, with a total for the five years 2010-2014 over $81 Million. All of these psychotropic drugs given to Missouri foster care children between the ages of 0 and 26 are harmful and can have serious side effects including violence and suicide.

The top costs are for ADHD drugs and Antipsychotics for all ages. ADHD drug costs appear to be increasing year over year. Babies less than a year old are more commonly given Barbiturates, one presumes as a remedy for insomnia. Barbiturates are highly dangerous because of the small difference between a
normal dose and an overdose.

For all these reasons, CCHR would like to see an amendment for SB160 to this effect:

Foster Children have the right:
(a) To be free of the administration of medication or chemical substances unless authorized by a physician,
(b) To be informed of the risks and benefits of psychotropic medication in an age appropriate manner,
(c) To tell their doctor that they disagree with any recommendation to prescribe psychotropic medication,
(d) To go to the judge with an advocate of their choice and state that they object to any recommendation to prescribe psychotropic medication,
(e) To refuse the administration of psychotropic or other medication unless immediately necessary for the preservation of life or the prevention of serious bodily harm,
(f) To refuse the off-label prescription of psychotropic drugs and at-risk polypharmacy,
(g) To have prescribing doctors disclose any financial ties they have to pharmaceutical companies in writing in an age appropriate manner.

Contact your Missouri state Representative and Senator, and let them know what you think about this. Such an amendment to the proposed legislation would certainly strengthen the rights of foster children and reduce the administration of psychiatric drugs, since they are all inherently damaging to young children and should not be held as standards of care.

For more information click here.

Drugging Children in Missouri Foster Care

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

The high rates of psychotropic medication use in the Medicaid population, risks associated with these drugs, and research documenting inappropriate prescribing, have raised concerns, especially for children involved in the child welfare system.

Studies suggest that appropriate prescribing practices, that is, adhering to FDA-approved use and accepted clinical guidelines, may not always be followed for certain Medicaid populations such as the high-risk populations of children in foster care. In actual fact, multiple studies and reports have found that children in foster care are vulnerable to inappropriate or excessive drug use. Children in foster care are often prescribed more than one psychotropic drug at the same time. A review in Missouri once found some children in foster care prescribed five or more psychotropic drugs.

Missouri Foster Care serves individuals age 0 to 21; not all states provide care to age 21. In FY2014 Missouri extended Medicaid benefits up to age 26 for individuals who have aged out of foster care.

In Fiscal Year 2015, Department of Social Services MO Healthnet (Medicaid) spent $1,254,900,000 for pharmacy services for 883,672 people, approximately 60% of whom were children. There were an average of 13,033 children monthly in Foster Care (19,429 individuals for the year.) The total 2015 state population of children under 18 was 1,399,075.

(Data is primarily from the Missouri Department of Social Services and Child Division reports available on the state website dss.mo.gov, as well as various Medicaid-related publications, and sites such as the Medicaid Statistical Information System.)

Average number of MO Children in Foster Care per month by Fiscal Year:

FY Avg # of Children per Month Total Individuals per Year
2003 12,246
2004 11,634
2005 11,402
2006 10,904
2007 10,571
2008 9,760
2009 9,532
2010 9,785
2011 10,536 16,493
2012 11,059 17,160
2013 11,257 18,289
2014 12,104 18,290
2015 13,033 19,429

You can see that over the last four years, Missouri has been experiencing an increase in the Foster Care population, which in 2015 was the highest in the previous 12 years; indicating at the very least unmanageable caseloads.

The average age of a child in Missouri Foster Care is 10 years old, and spends an average of 24 months in foster care.

In 2014, for example, there were 7,259 Children entering or reentering state custody. There were 24,388 children, in or out of foster care, who were receiving public mental health services (meaning they were likely on one or more psychotropic drugs.)

For 2008, Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit statistics for Missouri from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show 122,274 children 5 years of age or younger; 121,095 ages 6 to 14; and 54,645 ages 15 to 20. This includes children in foster care. The top drug group for all these prescriptions in terms of cost was antipsychotics.

Missouri consistently ranks nationally in the bottom one-third of overall health status as compared to other states. Nationally, about 14 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries used a psychotropic medication during calendar year 2011. In 2011, Medicaid spent about $8 billion in fee for service for psychotropic medications—30 percent of the program’s total fee-for-service drug spending.

Some General Observations from the Data
1. Top costs are for ADHD drugs and Antipsychotics for all ages.
2. ADHD drug costs appear to be increasing year over year.
3. Babies less than a year old are more commonly given Barbiturates, one presumes as a remedy for insomnia. Barbiturates are highly dangerous because of the small difference between a normal dose and an overdose.
4. Total foster care drug costs have averaged roughly $16 Million per year, with a total for the five years 2010-2014 over $81 Million.

Drug Classes given to children in Missouri foster care (ask us for a copy of the full report):
ADHD
Antianxiety
AntidepressantAntipsychotic_Combo
Antidepressants_MAOIs
Antidepressants_SSRIsAndSimilar
Antidepressants_Tricyclics
Antipsychotics_FirstGeneration
Antipsychotics_SecondGeneration
Barbiturates
Bipolar Disorder
InsomniaNarcolepsySleepDisorders

 

Recommendations / Model Legislation
§ As an example, there are currently close to 63,000 children and youth in California’s Child Welfare System. Refer to this model legislation from California:
California Assembly Bill AB-1067
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1067
Approved by the Governor 09/30/16.
Requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) to convene a working group to develop standardized information about the rights of all minors and nonminors in foster care, and expands requirements regarding the distribution of information regarding these rights.

§ As another example, see this draft copy of suggested California legislation to expand the rights of children in foster care regarding the use of psychotropic drugs:
http://www.cchrstl.org/documents/Draft%20CA%20Foster%20Care%20Bill.pdf
A bill to amend the existing Foster Child Bill of Rights (WIC 16001.9) to strengthen the rights of foster children to participate in any decision to require mental health treatment and psychotropic medication. The state of California finds that Foster Children are subjected to excessive diagnosis and treatment by psychotropic medications, and hereby amends the Foster Child Bill of Rights to include the following additional protections for children under the care of Child Protective Services.
Section 16001.9 (a) 5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:
(5) (a) To be free of the administration of medication or chemical substances unless authorized by physician,
(b) To be informed of the risks and benefits of psychotropic medication in an age appropriate manner,
(c) To tell their doctor that they disagree with any recommendation to prescribe psychotropic medication,
(d) To go to the judge with an advocate of their choice and state that they object to any recommendation to prescribe psychotropic medication,
(e) To refuse the administration of psychotropic or other medication unless immediately necessary for the preservation of life or the prevention of serious bodily harm,
(f) To refuse the off-label prescription of psychotropic drugs and at-risk polypharmacy,
(g) To have prescribing doctors disclose any financial ties they have to pharmaceutical companies in writing in an age appropriate manner.

§ Go here to download more information about drugging foster care children:
http://www.cchrstl.org/documents/facts_about_foster_care_children.pdf

Feds Pay for Drug Fraud

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Feds Pay for Drug Fraud

92 Percent of Foster Care, Poor Kids Prescribed Antipsychotics Get Them for Unaccepted Uses
This Huffington Post article on April 30, 2015 exposes the fact that poor and foster care kids covered by Medicaid are being prescribed too many dangerous antipsychotic drugs at young ages for far too long — mostly without any medical justification at all.
“92 percent of all kids on Medicaid receiving antipsychotics don’t have any of the limited ‘medically accepted pediatric conditions’ supposedly justifying their use. These ‘accepted conditions’ include the authority to use antipsychotics even for autistic children as young as 5 for such dubious FDA-approved conditions as ‘irritability.'”

“Medicaid spends about $3.5 billion a year on antipsychotics for all ages, largely for unaccepted uses, with nearly 2 million kids prescribed them. Nationally, about 12 percent of all the nation’s 500,000 foster care children have received Medicaid-paid antipsychotics at some point, often because they haven’t been offered proven, “trauma-informed” intensive therapies, according to Kamala Allen, director of Child Health Quality for the Center for Health Care Strategies.”

“… it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that federal officials aren’t too keen on enforcing drugging protections for either nursing home residents (whose meds are usually paid by Medicare) or children on Medicaid. ‘The federal government has done absolutely nothing of significance to rein in overprescribing,’ says Bill Grimm, a senior counsel with the San Francisco-based National Center for Youth Law (NYCL) that has launched a PsychDrugs Action Campaign, now focused primarily on pending reform bills in the California legislature.”

“… just two months ago, a Philadelphia jury found that Janssen hid the breast-growth dangers of the drug Risperdal and owed $2.5 million to a 20-year-old autistic man who developed size 46 DD breasts as a teenager. ‘This was the first case related to the condition called gynecomastia that went to a jury, but thousands more lawsuits are lined up in Philadelphia, California, Missouri, and other locations,’ The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.”

“… what’s especially absurd … is the notion that federal officials think they’re not allowed to suggest to state Medicaid authorities to stop paying for the unaccepted uses of these and other drugs.”

“As Dr. David Rubin, the director of the Policy Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told Mental Health Weekly, ‘The medications are being used particularly for disruptive behavior and to control the children.’ Yet nearly half of all kids getting the drugs aren’t getting other behavioral health services such as therapy, according to research by the Center for Health Care Strategies.”

“A shocking five-part series by The San Jose Mercury News, published last year, highlighted dangerous overprescribing that showed that thousands of foster care kids over a decade — nearly one in four foster teens — had been essentially ‘chemically restrained’ for their behavior with antipsychotics drugs that left many drooling, lethargic and obese.”

“Edward Opton, an attorney with the National Center for Youth Law’s PsychDrugs Action Campaign, has underscored why foster care kids are especially vulnerable. Even though they make up just 3 percent of all Medicaid children, they account for roughly 30 percent of all Medicaid behavioral spending for kids: ‘Foster children are a lucrative market for psychotropic drug sales. Unlike adults, they can’t say, “No, I won’t take any more of that drug,”‘ he wrote in a recent column on the Mad in America website.”

You should read the full Huffington Post article, it is most illuminating.

You should also contact your local, state and federal officials and ask them why this Medicaid fraud persists.

Drugging Missouri Foster Children

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Drugging Missouri Foster Children

 In light of a San Jose Mercury News investigation “Drugging Our Kids” exposing the massive psychotropic drugging of children under California’s foster care system, which found nearly 25% of adolescents in California’s foster care system are prescribed mind-altering psychotropic drugs, lawmakers are now understanding the urgency of legislation to curb this abusive practice.

More than 30 percent of Missouri’s foster children take psychotropic drugs, even beating California, and most of the drugs are approved only for children with severe mental problems, according to Columbia Missourian news.

Often neglected and abused, foster children are one of Missouri’s most vulnerable populations. But “experts” say the state cannot always give children the emotional support they need. Instead, their problems are dealt with another way — by prescribing harmful and addictive psychiatric drugs.

Nationally, 18 percent of foster children are given psychotropic drugs. In Missouri, it’s nearly twice that amount.

The overprescription of psychoactive drugs to foster children is alarming. Well over 5,000 Missouri foster children are taking psychiatric drugs. At least 20 percent were taking an average of two or more psychiatric drugs. Missouri spent more than $81 million on psychiatric drugs for foster children in the last five years. Antipsychotics account for more than half of the state’s spending on psychiatric medication for foster children.

In Missouri, prescription records indicate that foster children as young as 2 have been given antipsychotics.

Sign CCHR’s Petition to Prevent the Dangerous Psychotropic Drugging of California’s Foster Care Youth here.

Contact your state legislators and let them know what you think about this; urge them to do something about drugging our most vulnerable children with harmful and addictive psychotropic drugs. Find your Missouri legislators here.

Texas Foster Children Health Care News

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Texas Foster Children Health Care News

Legislation signed by the Governor of Texas and effective starting 9/1/2013 provides expanded safeguards for foster children in Texas regarding their health care.

HB 915 (House Bill 915) should be taken strongly to heart by all state legislatures.

Here are some of the important points safeguarding foster children from dangerous psychotropic drugs. We have paraphrased the legalese to make it easier to read. The actual bill text can be found here.

Duties required by a guardian ad litem appointed for a child include reviewing the medical care provided to the child, and in a developmentally appropriate manner, elicit the child’s opinion on the medical care provided. For a child at least 16 years of age, advise the child of the child’s right to request the court to authorize the child to consent to the child’s own medical care.

For a child receiving psychotropic medication, determine whether the child has been provided appropriate psychosocial therapies, behavior strategies, and other non-pharmacological intervention, and has been seen by the prescribing physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse at least once every 90 days.

For a youth taking prescription medication, the department shall ensure that the youth’s transition plan includes provisions to assist the youth in managing the use of the medication and in managing the child’s long-term physical and mental health needs after leaving foster care, including provisions that inform the youth about the use of the medication, the resources that are available to assist the youth in managing the use of the medication, and informed consent and the provision of medical care.

A person may not be authorized to consent to medical care provided to a foster child unless the person has completed a department-approved training program related to informed consent. The training required must include training related to informed consent for the administration of psychotropic medication and the appropriate use of psychosocial therapies, behavior strategies, and other non-pharmacological interventions that should be considered before or concurrently with the administration of psychotropic medications.

Consent to the administration of a psychotropic medication is  valid only if the consent is given voluntarily and without undue influence, and the person authorized by law to consent for the foster child receives verbally or in writing information that describes the specific condition to be treated, the beneficial effects on that condition expected from the medication, the probable health and mental health consequences of not consenting to the medication, the probable clinically significant side effects and risks associated with the medication, and the generally accepted alternative medications and non-pharmacological interventions to the medication, if any, and the reasons for the proposed course of treatment.

The department shall notify the child’s parents of the initial prescription of a psychotropic medication to a foster child and of any change in dosage of the psychotropic medication at the first scheduled meeting between the parents and the child’s caseworker after the date the psychotropic medication is prescribed or the dosage is changed.

The person authorized to consent to medical treatment for a foster child prescribed a psychotropic medication shall ensure that the child has been seen by the prescribing physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse at least once every 90 days to allow the physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse to appropriately monitor the side effects of the medication, and determine whether the medication is helping the child achieve the treatment goals, and continued use of the medication is appropriate.

Note the emphasis on Informed Consent. Click here for more information about Informed Consent.

The real problem is that psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose life’s problems as an “illness”, and stigmatize unwanted behavior or study problems as “diseases.” Psychiatry’s stigmatizing labels, programs and treatments are harmful junk science; their diagnoses of “mental disorders” are a hoax — unscientific, fraudulent and harmful. All psychiatric treatments, not just psychiatric drugs, are dangerous.

Contact your own state legislators and suggest that they review this Texas legislation and additional information about Informed Consent so that they may compare it to existing state laws on the matter and provide needed protections for children under state care. In Missouri, visit here to find your legislators.

 

U.S. Probes Psych Drugs on Kids

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

U.S. Probes Psych Drugs on Kids

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) carried this report August 11, “U.S. Probes Use of Antipsychotic Drugs on Children,” sub-titled “Federal health officials are reviewing antipsychotic drug use on children in the Medicaid system.”

Concerned that psych drugs are being over-prescribed to very young children, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is reviewing antipsychotic use in the Medicaid system for children under 18 years old. These drugs include Abilify, which is widely prescribed to children for a range of behavioral symptoms. Other drugs in this category include Risperdal, Seroquel, and Zyprexa.

The DHHS has this to say specifically about this review: “We will determine the extent to which children ages 18 and younger had Medicaid claims for atypical antipsychotic drugs during the selected timeframe. On the basis of medical record reviews, we will also determine the extent to which the atypical antipsychotic drug claims were for off-label uses and for indications not listed in one or more of the approved drug compendia.”

Quotes from the WSJ article: “Medicaid spends more on antipsychotics than on any other class of drugs. Abilify, made by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., appears on lists of the top 10 drugs paid for by Medicaid in various states.”

“The number of people under age 20 receiving Medicaid-funded prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs tripled between 1999 and 2008.”

“Children on Medicaid are prescribed antipsychotics at four times the rate of privately insured children.”

“Of particular concern is use of the drugs on foster children in the Medicaid system.”

Contact Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at dan.levinson@oig.hhs.gov, and let him know what you think about the psychiatric drugging of children with harmful and addictive antipsychotics.

Abilify and other antipsychotic drugs have caused a potentially fatal condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Patients who develop this may have high fevers, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, irregular pulse or blood pressure, rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, and heart arrhythmias (irregularities). Body temperature regulation—disruption of the body’s ability to reduce core body temperature—has been attributed to antipsychotic agents such as Abilify.

According to the U.S. consumer advocacy group Public Citizen after reviewing information about clinical trials of Abilify, “…nothing in these five trials can lead one to believe that aripiprazole (Abilify) is a meaningful advancement in the treatment of schizophrenia.”

Of course, we recognize that the real problem is that psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose life’s problems as an “illness”, and stigmatize unwanted behavior as “diseases.” Psychiatry’s stigmatizing labels, programs and treatments are harmful junk science; their diagnoses of “mental disorders” are a hoax — unscientific, fraudulent and harmful. All psychiatric treatments, not just psychiatric drugs, are dangerous.

It is vital that you, your family, your friends and associates, watch the video documentary “Making A Killing — The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging”. Containing more than 175 interviews with lawyers, mental health experts, the families of psychiatric abuse victims and the survivors themselves. This riveting documentary rips the mask off psychotropic drugging and exposes a brutal but well-entrenched money-making machine. The facts are hard to believe, but fatal to ignore. Watch the video online here. Forward this newsletter to everyone you know and recommend that they watch this video.

The Child Protection Racket

Friday, June 28th, 2013

The Child Protection Racket

Child welfare in the state of Missouri comes under the state government’s Executive branch, Department of Social Services (DSS). The Missouri Constitution Article IV Section 37 states the guiding principle of the Department of Social Services quite simply as:

“The health and general welfare of the people are matters of primary public concern; and to secure them there shall be established a department of social services in charge of a director appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, charged with promoting improved health and other social services to the citizens of the state as provided by law, and the general assembly may grant power with respect thereto to counties, cities or other political subdivisions of the state.”

One presumes that no one has any argument with the general statement of support for the health and welfare of Missouri citizens.

The Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo), the governing laws of the state, further define child welfare in Chapter 1 Section 1.092 as:

“The child welfare policy of this state is what is in the best interests of the child.”

The state’s child welfare services are concentrated in the Division of Family Services (DFS) in the Department of Social Services. Operating instructions for DFS are specified in RSMo Chapter 210 Section 210.109:

“The child protection system shall promote the safety of children and the integrity and preservation of their families by conducting investigations or family assessments and providing services in response to reports of child abuse or neglect. The system shall coordinate community resources and provide assistance or services to children and families identified to be at risk, and to prevent and remedy child abuse and neglect.”

One presumes that no one has any argument with the general statement of support for the health and welfare of Missouri children.

RSMo Chapter 630 Section 630.097 further authorizes the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to establish a “unified accountable comprehensive children’s mental health service system” providing “annual reports that include progress toward outcomes, monitoring, changes in populations and services, and emerging issues.” The strategic plan developed as a result of this legislation can be found here. The 2012 Annual Report for this effort can be found here.

There are no statistics about outcomes in this latest annual report. In fact, the report only discusses the establishment and activities of various committees, web sites, conferences, meetings, workshops, funding, training, newsletters — in short, nary a single word about accountable positive outcomes that improve the actual health and welfare of children.

An argument could be made that “improved health” and “best interests of the child” have not been genuine concerns of the state for its citizens and particularly for its children. The DSS, the DFS, and the DMH have all lost their way and abandoned their original purpose.

Instead we have these:

RSMo Chapter 208 Section 208.227 specifically allows for the availability of psychotropic drugs for seniors and children.

RSMo Chapter 208 Section 208.152 guarantees payments by MO HealthNet (the state Medicaid program) to provide mental health services.

RSMo Chapter 211 Section 211.161 allows juvenile courts to “cause any child or person seventeen years of age within its jurisdiction to be examined by a physician, psychiatrist or psychologist appointed by the court.”

To be fair, there is the occasional protection. For example, RSMo Chapter 632 Section 070 allows for the parents or legal custodians of any minors referred to DFS to consent to the mental health treatment of their children, and they must be advised that they have the right to consult their regular physicians before giving their consent to any treatment.

Are these protections enough? Judging from the number of cases brought to CCHR’s attention about children being taken away by DFS when the parents refuse to give psychiatric drugs to their children, we don’t think so.

Child Psychiatry is Child Abuse

The greatest threat of psychiatry is its targeting of the young, for in doing so, it threatens to destroy our future leaders. The drugging of children is a multbillion dollar business that grows larger every day. Psychiatrists expand their funding sources with an endless supply of fraudulent labels for normal childhood behavior.

No child should be compelled to receive brain-damaging “treatment” of any kind. No parent should be coerced into agreeing that, in order to retain custody of their child, they must consent to fraudulent, harmful and abusive psychiatric “care.”

If you become aware of the abusive treatment of children by the Missouri DSS, DFS, or DMH, notify the Office of Child Advocate: 866-457-2302, oca@oca.mo.gov, or fill out and send in a complaint form.

Missouri HB 1987 TAKE ACTION

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

We are delighted to report that Missouri State Representative Mike Leara (Republican, District 095 – Sunset Hills, Crestwood, Fenton and Grantwood Village in St. Louis County) introduced House Bill 1987 with the stated purpose to establish requirements for parental consent for mental health screenings in school and the use of psychotropic medications with children in the custody of the Department of Social Services.

The full text of the bill can be read here. Here are some pertinent quotes:

“The use of educational settings to screen children and adolescents for mental disorders has led to parents not being given sufficient information about the purpose of such screenings, the ramifications if they consent, such as mandatory psychological or psychiatric treatment for their child and family, thereby violating the recognized requirements and standards regarding full informed consent.”

“Based on the subjective nature of the mental health diagnostic system and mental health screenings, millions of children are prescribed antidepressants or stimulants recognized by leading drug regulatory agencies as causing suicidal behavior, suicide, violence, hostility and in the case of stimulants, the potential for strokes and heart attacks.”

“The department of elementary and secondary education shall prohibit the use of schools for any mental health or psychological screening or testing of any student, whether a nonemancipated minor or emancipated minor without the express written consent of the parent or guardian.”

“On or before January 1, 2013, the department of social services shall promulgate rules or amend any current rules to establish and maintain standards and procedures to govern the administration of psychotropic medications.”

ANALYSIS

This is a particularly valuable piece of legislation as it reflects the growing awareness and concern of parents about the harm done to their children by mental health screenings and psychotropic drugs in schools, and the indiscriminate administration of harmful and addictive psychotropic drugs to children in the foster care system.

TAKE ACTION

Please thank Representative Leara for his efforts and let Representative Leara know that you support this legislation, and write your own Missouri State Representative urging them to bring it through Committee and to a vote on the floor.

If you do not live in Missouri, then forward this proposed legislation to your own state representatives and urge them to sponsor and enact similar legislation.

FURTHER INFORMATION

For more information about the harm caused by mental health screenings and psychotropic drugs, visit the CCHR STL web site.

12-Year-Old Testifies in U.S. Senate Hearing About Psych Drugs

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

12-year-old foster child, Ke’onte Cook, testifies in U.S.
Senate hearing about his experience with psych drugs

The Financial and Societal Costs of Medicating America’s Foster Children

Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Watch the video on PsychNews.

Ke’onte says, “About a year after I was adopted I found out I was on twenty different drugs total, and sometimes I took up to five drugs at one time. … Some of the things I was diagnosed with were Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Insomnia, ADHD, Depression. … I had side effects no one told me about … I think putting me on all these stupid meds was the most
idiotic thing I’ve ever experienced in foster care and was the worst thing someone could do to foster kids.”

For more information:

* CCHR Watchdog Radio podcast “Protecting Foster Children from Psychiatric Drugs“.

* ABC News Reports Shocking Use of Psychiatric Drugs With Foster Children.

* “The Psychiatric Drugging of America’s Foster Children” by Peter Breggin.