Posts Tagged ‘Missouri’

Missouri Foster Care Children at Risk

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

Following up on the federal class action lawsuit (M.B. v. Corsi) against the Missouri Department of Social Services for the overuse of harmful and addictive psychotropic drugs among vulnerable foster children.

More than 30 percent of Missouri’s 13,000 foster children are on at least one psychotropic medication, with 20 percent taking two or more psychotropic medications at the same time. This is almost twice the national rate of such prescriptions. These drugs are known to cause violence and suicide, as well as being addictive.

For the first time, a federal court has ruled that the failure to oversee the administration of powerful psychotropic medications to children in foster care could violate their rights under the Constitution.

On January 8, 2018 U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey denied the state’s motion to dismiss the children’s due process claims. The judge was particularly concerned that the state, by its own admission, fails to maintain complete medical records for the foster children in its care, and does not provide updated health information to foster parents or doctors.

Foster children are drugged with harmful psychotropics at 13 times the rate of children living with their parents.

Recognize that the real problem is that psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose children’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.

Click here for more information about psychiatric drugs harming foster care children.

Take Action – Missouri Legislature

Wednesday, December 27th, 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.

The Missouri General Assembly is the state legislature of the State of Missouri and is composed of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The General Assembly is responsible for creating laws for governing the State of Missouri. The Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo) are electronically available on this site:  http://revisor.mo.gov/.

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

The Ninety-Ninth General Assembly, Second Regular Session, will convene at 12:00 P.M., Wednesday, January 3, 2018. Pre-filing of bills started December 1, 2017.

This time we’d like to discuss several bills which we’d like you to write your legislators about. Please write from your viewpoint as an individual or professional, and not as a representative of any organization. Let us know the details and any responses you get. The full text of each bill can be found on the House and Senate Joint Bill Tracking site. Just put the bill number into the search box (e.g. SB661).

Check out our handy discussion about How to write to a legislator.

If you are not a voting resident of Missouri, you can find out about legislation in your own state and write your own state legislators; also, we are looking for volunteers to monitor legislation in Missouri and the states surrounding Missouri — let us know if you’d like to help out.

Very Bad Bills

These are bills that further psychiatric abuses of human rights. Please express your opposition and opinions about these to your legislators and copy the sponsors.

1) SB661 – Senate Bill 661 – sponsored by Senator Jeanie Riddle (Republican, District 10).

This act provides that after a person accused of committing a crime has been involuntarily committed to the Department of Mental Health due to lack of mental fitness to stand trial, the legal counsel for the Department shall have standing to participate in hearings regarding involuntary medications for the accused.

The subject of this bill had been introduced previously in 2016 and 2017. We think it is very bad because it allows the Department of Mental Health to force psychiatric drugs on involuntarily committed citizens. Both of these actions — involuntary commitment and enforced drugging — are psychiatric abuses of human rights.

2) SB785 – Senate Bill 785 – sponsored by Senator Jamilah Nasheed (Democrat, District 5).

This act establishes the Coordinating Board for Mental Health Issues in Higher Education (CBMHI). Each public institution of higher education in Missouri shall have one representative, who is either an administrator or counseling director, on the CBMHI.

It requires setting standards and regulations for student counseling facilities that relate to mental health problems, and developing a process for measuring a higher educational institution’s ability to meet student mental health needs. In other words, it will promote psychiatric and psychological counseling, and likely recommend psychiatric drugs as well. While this sounds altruistic, we know that the current state of psychiatric and psychological counseling is an abuse of human rights.

3) HB1363 – House Bill 1363 – sponsored by Representative Bill Kidd (Republican, District 20).

This bill requires teachers and principals to complete two hours of suicide prevention education each school year.

Again, while this sounds altruistic, the current state of so-called “suicide prevention education” is a recommendation for harmful and addictive psychiatric drugs, which are known to cause the very thing they are supposed to prevent, which is violence and suicide.

4) HB1419 – House Bill 1419 – sponsored by Representative Marsha Haefner (Republican, District 95).

This bill requires certain health care professionals to complete two hours of suicide prevention training as a condition of licensure.

More of the same — the current state of so-called “suicide prevention training” is a recommendation for harmful and addictive psychiatric drugs, which are known to cause the very thing they are supposed to prevent, which is violence and suicide.


Very Good Bills

These are bills that support human rights and oppose psychiatric abuses. Please express your support and opinions about these to your legislators and copy the sponsors.

1) SB672 – Senate Bill 672 – sponsored by Senator Andrew Koenig (Republican, District 15).

This act provides that during a child protective investigation if the child is at risk for possible removal the Children’s Division shall provide information to the parent about community service programs that provide support services for families in crisis. Additionally, a parent may temporarily delegate to an attorney-in-fact any powers regarding the care and custody of a child, where a child subject to such power of attorney shall not be considered placed in foster care.

This returns parental rights to the parents instead of forcing a child into foster care. We think this is supportive of human rights, not to mention preventing a child from receiving psychiatric drugging which almost always occurs in foster care.

2) SB786 – Senate Bill 786 – sponsored by Senator Jill Schupp (Democrat, District 24).

This bill modifies provisions relating to “whistle-blower’s” protection for public employees by broadening its scope of application and extending protections to the whistle-blower.

3) HB1294 – House Bill 1294 – sponsored by Representative Cheri Toalson Reisch (Republican, District 44).

This bill specifies that parental liberty to direct the upbringing, education, and care of his or her children is a fundamental right. The State of Missouri and any political subdivision of the state is prohibited from infringing on this right without demonstrating a compelling governmental interest.

Needless to say, we support parental rights as a basic human right. Article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, “Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.” And Article 26 says, “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

4) HB1451 – House Bill 1451 – sponsored by Representative Karla May (Democrat, District 84).

This bill prohibits the use of electroconvulsive therapy on children under 16 years of age. Any person or mental health facility that administers electroconvulsive therapy to someone under 16 years of age will be fined up to $100,000 or imprisoned for two years, or both, and will be liable for compensation to the person that was given the electroconvulsive therapy.

What can we say? About time! Get this one passed! Write your legislators now!

Holiday Stress

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

We see a lot of news articles cropping up warning about stress during holidays.

Elf On A Shelf

Personally, we think a lot of it is motivated by some marketer’s bright idea, no doubt under the guidance of an “expert” psychologist or psychiatrist, about how to drum up business for the mental health industry.

Of course, you know what an “expert” is? An “ex” is a has-been; and a “spurt” is a drip under pressure.

Sometimes the advice given is just common sense; but other times the advice is dangerous. Beware, judgment may be in short supply when under a lot of stress.

The Missouri Magazine thinks it is essential to let us know this holiday season how to manage stress. Its advice is mostly common sense.

Medical News Today wants us to manage stress, also, but they recommend you “seek help from a healthcare professional.” Naturally; the marketer in action.

One psychologist recommends you seek help from the American Psychological Association. Naturally.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services even has a full-color brochure on how to handle holiday stress. They recommend, surprise, that you call the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Crisis Intervention line.

Oh, and then there’s all the “research” about holiday stress. The Mayo Clinic thinks women tend to get more stressed during the holiday season. We’re pretty sure that a comprehensive search will find that some scientist, somewhere has reached pretty much any conclusion you care to name about this condition.

We wrote a whole blog previously about stress, you can review it here.

The DSM-V has several entries for stress:
– Acute stress disorder
– Unspecified trauma- and stressor-related disorder
– Other specified trauma- and stressor-related disorder
– Posttraumatic stress disorder
We’re pretty sure you already know our opinion about the DSM.

There are even articles about “stress-free recipes for the holidays”.

Our advice? Read what we have to say about stress, pass this along to your family, friends and associates, let us know what you think about this, and then have a happy, safe, stress-free holiday!

Pay to Play Psychiatry

Monday, December 4th, 2017

The second-highest-paying job in the St. Louis area, with an annual mean salary of $236,630, is “psychiatrist.”

The data was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in summer 2017, and covers annual mean wages as of May 2016. It is the latest wage data available for the St. Louis metro area.

Nationally, “psychiatrist” is the eighth highest-paying job, at $194,740 median pay per year.

Considering that psychiatry by its own admission can produce no cures, and in fact harms more than it helps, one marvels that it is such a high-paying occupation. How could this be?

The coercive nature of psychiatric “treatments” is one answer. Fraudulently hospitalized citizens have been held until their mental health insurance benefits ran out. The psychiatric “diagnosis” was often changed to exhaust the insurance coverage. Mental health hospitals must be established to replace coercive psychiatric institutions.

Despite years of healthcare fraud investigations and convictions, psychiatrists and psychologists have not reformed the fraudulent practices that are rife within their ranks. Internationally, fraud in the mental health industry has been estimated to cost more than a hundred billion dollars every year.

Proper medical screening by non-psychiatric diagnostic specialists could eliminate more than 40% of psychiatric admissions. Medical studies have shown time and again that for many patients, what appear to be mental problems are actually caused by an undiagnosed and untreated physical illness or condition.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the key to escalating “mental illness” statistics and psychotropic drug usage. Untold harm and colossal waste of mental health care funds occur because of it. The unscientific and spurious nature of the DSM invites fraud. The DSM diagnostic system must be abandoned before real mental health reform can occur.

Ultimately, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists and their hospitals must be made fully accountable for their funding, practices and treatments, and their results, or lack thereof. Pay a psychiatrist only for proven, workable treatments that verifiably and dramatically improve or cure mental health problems.

Missouri Receives Federal Crisis Counseling Program Grant

Monday, August 28th, 2017

The Missouri Department of Mental Health received a $500,000 “Show Me Hope Crisis Counseling Program” (CCP) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that funds psychological services for victims of flooding. The money is funneled to six Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC): BJC, Comtrea, Compass Health, Family Counseling Center, Ozark Center, and Ozarks Medical Center.

The CCP is a short-term disaster grant funded by FEMA and administered through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Federal Law authorizes the President to fund mental health assistance and training activities in designated disaster areas. President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Missouri June 2, 2017 at the request of Governor Eric Greitens. There are other emergency funds being used for cleanup, recovery and other humanitarian efforts.

It is certainly encouraging that the federal government is backing up relief efforts to flood victims in Missouri; however, one does not consider psychological counseling as effective relief.

Natural disasters do not cause mental illness. People have emotions that are appropriate for the situation. If something terrible happens it’s only natural to feel bad. The severity of the disaster would determine the appropriate reaction of tears to hysterics. In fact, it would be abnormal not to have those emotions. Psychology and psychiatry would like you to believe otherwise. Psychologists and psychiatrists are taking the stress of disasters and making them into behavioral issues that can only be treated with “counseling” and harmful psychotropic drugs.

Most people are resilient and can cope with the stress resulting from a disaster. For those that can’t seem to bounce back or recover in a timely fashion, they will be the ones targeted by psychiatrists, psychologists and pharmaceutical companies to get them on counseling and drugs. Instead, the solution is not to agree with the false data and bogus diagnoses, but to actually find a true physiological cause of the symptoms. That way the cause can be treated and the symptoms would disappear.

Community Mental Health psychiatric programs started in the 1960s, made possible with the development and use of neuroleptic drugs, also known as antipsychotics, for mentally disturbed individuals. Neuroleptic is from Greek, meaning “nerve seizing”, reflective of how the drugs act like a chemical lobotomy. Service is provided through government-funded units called Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC). These centers tend to patients within the community, dispensing neuroleptics to keep traumatized individuals under control.

CMHCs became legalized drug dealerships that supply psychiatric drugs to their patients. There has been much debate within the psychology profession about the medicalization of counseling, since psychology has largely subscribed to the fraudulent biological model of psychiatry, in which psychotropic drugs are assumed to be needed to fix some chemical imbalance in the brain, an assumption that has never been clinically proven. Nearly every year legislation is introduced to allow psychologists to prescribe psychiatric drugs.

Wilhelm Wundt of Leipzig University founded “experimental psychology” in 1879. Declaring that man is an animal, with no soul, he claimed that thought was merely the result of brain activity — a false premise that has remained the basis of psychiatry and psychology until this day.

The entirety of psychological and psychiatric counseling programs are founded on the tacit assumptions that mental health “experts” know all about the mind and mental phenomena, know a better way of life, a better value system and how to improve lives beyond the understanding and capability of their patients. The reality is that all mental health counseling programs are designed to control people’s lives towards specific ideological objectives at the expense of the person’s sanity and well-being.

A review of studies regarding disasters shows that the psychological treatment offered to individuals does more harm than good. Professor Yvonne McEwan, advisor to the U.S. government after the Oklahoma City bombing, said the booming profession [psychology] was at best useless and at worst highly destructive to victims seeking help: “Professional counseling is largely a waste of time and does more to boost the ego of the counselor than to help the victim….”

Click here for more information about the failure of community mental health programs.

Tell Debra.Walker@dmh.mo.gov what you think about this. Ms. Walker is with the Office of Public Affairs at the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Tell Mark Stringer at directormail@dmh.mo.gov, Director of the Missouri DMH, what you think about this. Tell Patrick Baker at Patrick.Baker@ltgov.mo.gov, Missouri Flood Recovery Coordinator, what you think about this.

Patients With Mental Disorders Get Half Of All Opioid Prescriptions

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

A June 26, 2017 article on Kaiser Health News by Vickie Connor presents the information that, “Adults with a mental illness receive more than 50 percent of the 115 million opioid prescriptions in the United States annually.”

Not surprisingly, it also says that while the opioids are prescribed primarily for pain, patients with mental illness find that the drugs alleviate their mental issues, too. We don’t know about you, but if we’re in severe pain our mental health suffers. Then again, you’ve probably heard of the “hammer effect” — if you’re having symptoms of mental trauma, smack your finger smartly with a hammer and we guarantee that you won’t be thinking about your mental troubles for a while. (This is one of those “please don’t try this at home” pieces of advice.)

Understand that when news media say “mental illness,” we read “mental symptoms,” since the symptoms are real but the illness is not. There may indeed be some physical, medical illness; but the fact is, there is no such thing as a “mental illness” the way the psychiatric industry touts it. In 40 years, “biological psychiatry” has yet to validate a single psychiatric condition/diagnosis as an abnormality/disease, or as anything neurological, biological, chemically imbalanced or genetic.

In any case, the best treatments for chronic pain are not opioids, but finding the underlying causes for the pain, learning how to deal with those, and treating those with workable, non-psychiatric methods. See also “The Medicalization of Addiction” for more information about the current craze of treating opioid addiction with more addictive drugs.

Opioid addiction and related deaths have become such an issue in Missouri that  Missouri Attorney General Joshua Hawley filed a lawsuit June 21, 2017 in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City against several pharmaceutical companies. Opioid sales now generate nearly $10 billion in sales per year, while countless individuals have become addicted to opioids as a result of the use of opioids for chronic-pain treatment, often with tragic results.

“Missouri faces an urgent public-health crisis. Each year, hundreds of Missourians die from opioid overdoses, while tens of thousands more are hospitalized or require emergency treatment. Opioid addiction and abuse have destroyed the lives of countless Missourians and ravaged communities across the State. This opioid epidemic is the direct result of a carefully crafted campaign of deception carried out by Defendants. For years, Defendants fraudulently misrepresented the risks posed by the drugs that they manufacture and sell, misleading both doctors and consumers.”

We don’t really know which came first — the mental trauma or the physical pain; but it doesn’t really matter which comes first. The bottom line is that neither opioids nor psychiatric drugs are workable treatments. Click here for more information about workable treatments.

What Makes Special Education Special?

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

The Special School District in St. Louis County, Missouri has an annual budget over $400 Million for 7 schools, over 2600 teachers, and over 24,000 students.

The July 2002 President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education revealed the source of a deeply troubled Special Education system: 40 percent of kids are being labeled with “learning disorders” simply because they have not been taught to read. This finding leaves no doubt that the subjectivity of the term “learning disorder” must be a central point of Special Education reform.

Eighty percent of children (or 2.4 million) labeled as having a “specific learning disability” could be taught in a normal school setting but with greater emphasis on phonics and academic basics. We suspect that all children, not just special school district children, could benefit from this.

State and federal governments are already wasting $28 billion per year due to unscientific categories in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This money would be better channeled into providing more teachers and workable educational methods that get actual results.

The DSM-5 lists these ridiculous items of “mental illness”:

  • “Academic or educational problem”
  • “Specific learning disorder”
  • “Specific learning disorder, With impairment in mathematics”
  • “Specific learning disorder, With impairment in reading”
  • “Specific learning disorder, With impairment in written expression”

The primary purpose of Congress’ original IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act) law in 1975 was to provide a free and appropriate education for children with hearing, sight, speech and other physical handicaps. When the term “handicapped” was changed to “learning disabled,” children who fidget, interrupt their teachers, or simply fall behind academically were suddenly considered “disabled.”

Over the ensuing years, the funding has been largely funneled, instead, to children with “learning disorders,” a term so subjective that children who fidget, butt into line or interrupt their teachers are so labeled. In most cases the children were subsequently prescribed cocaine-like, mind-altering drugs. Many of these children simply have never been taught to read. Clearly, there is a critical need to provide an objective, scientifically based definition of “learning disability,” and this must be the central point of reforming IDEA.

Labeling a child with these “disorders” led to school personnel threatening parents to place their child on a psychiatric drug as a requisite to remaining in class, or face the child being dismissed from school.

Due to the hazards of these drugs, in order to receive federal funds under the IDEA, the “Prohibition on Mandatory Medication Amendment” (H.R.1350) was signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 3, 2004 and requires schools to implement policies that prohibit schoolchildren being forced onto psychiatric drugs as a requisite for their education. The law states, “The psychological/psychiatric system should not be able to abuse Special Education by diagnosing childhood and educational problems and failure as ‘mental disorders.'”

Email Special School District Superintendent Don Bohannon at dbohannon@ssdmo.org and let him know what you think about this.

Click here for more information about mental health screening in schools.

Doctors in Schools

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Through psychiatry’s stigmatizing labels, false explanations, easy-seizure commitment laws and often brutal, depersonalizing “treatments” and deadening, mind-altering drugs, thousands needlessly fall into psychiatry’s coercive system every day all over the world. It is a system which exemplifies human rights abuse.

“In the Australian state of Victoria, a state program kicked in at the beginning of 2017 to mandate that children as young as 12 should see a doctor in school at least once a week, to receive drugs and medical treatment without parental consent.”

“Select Victorian Government secondary schools will work together with local general practices to enable primary health care services to be delivered on school premises.

One suspects that this “Doctors in Schools” program is actually intended to consolidate government control over children and line the pockets of pharmaceutical corporations. You know that these doctors will be prescribing psychiatric drugs to these schoolchildren.

In his 1932 novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley depicts a “utopian” but totalitarian society, one that is insane and bent on control. It is a controlled civilization, using, as Huxley stated, the “technique of suggestion – through infant conditioning and, later, with the aid of drugs.”

In 2003 the release of the U.S. New Freedom Commission on Mental Health Report recommended that all 52 million American schoolchildren be “screened” for “mental illness,” claiming – without proof – that “early detection, assessment, and links with “treatment” could “prevent mental health problems from worsening.” “Treatment” ultimately means drugs – usually the most expensive ones that effectively create lifetime mental health patients – for which the government and insurance agencies can be billed.

Children worldwide are under extremely dangerous assault. Today, parents and teachers are also deceived in the name of improved mental health and better education.

In the U.S. alone, 1.5 million children and adolescents on antidepressants are at risk of known, drug-induced violent or suicidal side effects.

In Missouri, Medicaid spends $16 Million per year on psychiatric drugs for roughly 20,000 children in state foster care. Foster care babies less than a year old are being given barbiturates to make them sleep. The side effects of barbiturates include addiction, depression, disorientation, hallucinations, kidney disease, and liver disease.

This information is not easy, comfortable reading. Ultimately the harshest reality you will have to face is that children urgently need our help and protection. Without that, the future for one and all is at serious risk.

For more information on harmful mental health screening, assessments, evaluations and programs within our schools, go to http://www.cchrstl.org/screening.shtml.

The Medicalization of Addiction

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Most early addiction treatment programs were abstinence-based. Today, the psycho-pharmaceutical industry has convinced insurance carriers and government agencies to fund and promote “medication-assisted treatment” (MAT), in which the treatment drug is as addictive as the original one.

Nearly half a million Americans died of drug overdoses from 2000 to 2014, mostly from opioid painkillers and heroin. The treatment of drug addiction by administering yet more potentially addictive drugs isn’t just profoundly counterintuitive; it is also a case of bad science and flawed policy, since it inhibits alternative forms of comprehensive treatment and often the drug-free treatment programs are not covered by insurance — already in Maryland, which suffers from some of the highest rates of drug addiction and alcoholism in the nation, drug-free addiction treatment programs that refuse to accept patients using MAT are being denied subsidized state funding.

Welcome to medication-assisted treatment, an increasingly influential and controversial paradigm in the world of medicine that, among other things, considers addiction a chronic “brain disease” rather than a condition that can be treated by addressing the social and spiritual aspects underlying addiction.

A typical prescription for an opioid painkiller might as well read, “80 mg OxyContin daily until you graduate to heroin.”

More than 710 people in the St. Louis region died from opioid overdoses in 2016. Nationwide, prescription opioids and heroin killed more than 33,000 people in 2015. In Missouri, opioid-related deaths have increased more than 7 times for young adults age 25 to 34 from 1999 to 2014.

The response of businesses who are affected by substance abuse is to refer employees to an “employee assistance program” (EAP) which is a euphemism for a mental health care provider. The EAP then refers the addict to a MAT program.

As an example, methadone, which is used today by more than 250,000 Americans, making it the most widely used medication for treating heroin addiction, carries a high risk of death from accidental overdose, especially during the initial stages of treatment, because it tends to suppress the respiratory system. In fact, it is the prescription of methadone for pain —- not methadone from maintenance clinics —- that has been a major contributor to the nation’s high opioid painkiller overdose death rates over the past two decades.

Another major step toward the growing medicalization of addiction occurred in 2013, when the American Psychiatric Association issued its fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) which insurance companies rely on for billing purposes. There are now 73 disorder diagnoses related to some kind of substance abuse, with another 20 disorders related to withdrawal symptoms. Disorders mentioning opioids number 38.

All of these so-called disorders can be prescribed a psychotropic drug for “treatment”, in addition to whatever street drug, prescription opioid, or addiction treatment drug was being used or abused.

Perhaps the most publicly visible display of Big Pharma’s political connections in recent memory occurred this past December, when, in a 94-5 vote, the U.S. Senate approved the “21st Century Cures Act,” one of the largest bills ever aimed at reforming the FDA. The $6.3 billion law, which President Obama signed before leaving office, calls for greater use of MAT and includes $1 billion for opioid prevention and treatment programs in 50 states over two years.

What can you do about this? Here’s a thought — contact your Missouri State Senator and Representative and ask them to remove all references to the DSM from Missouri State Law.

Missouri Foster Care Class Action Lawsuit

Monday, June 12th, 2017

LANDMARK FEDERAL LAWSUIT CHARGES MISSOURI WITH PERVASIVE FAILURE TO MONITOR THE PRESCRIPTION AND ADMINISTRATION OF POWERFUL PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATIONS TO FOSTER YOUTH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS CONTACTS:
Holly Aubry; haubry@childrensrights.org; 646.943.0541
Lewis Cohen; lcohen@youthlaw.org; 510.835.8098, ext 3045
Jessica Lillie Ciccone: lillieciccone@slu.edu; 314.977.7248

JUNE 12, 2017 – JEFFERSON CITY, MO. – Watchdogs Children’s Rights, National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) and Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics have today filed a landmark, civil rights complaint against Jennifer Tidball, Acting State Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services and Tim Decker, Director of the Children’s Division of DSS, on behalf of all minor children and youth who are or will be placed in Missouri’s foster care custody.

The first class action lawsuit to shine a federal spotlight solely on the overuse of psychotropic medications among vulnerable, at risk populations – such as Missouri’s 13,000 children in foster care – the complaint alleges longstanding, dangerous, unlawful and deliberately indifferent practices by the defendants, including:

  • Failure to ensure that powerful psychotropic drugs are administered to children safely and only when necessary
  • Failure to maintain complete and current medical records for children in foster care and to provide those records to foster parents and health providers to ensure effective and well-informed treatment
  • Failure to maintain a secondary review system to identify and address high risk and outlier prescriptions to children when they occur
  • Failure to assure and document meaningful, informed consent in relation to the administration of these drugs

“Children in Missouri foster care are routinely being placed on psychotropic drugs without adequate safeguards in place. The foster care system’s abject failure to oversee and closely monitor the use of these powerful drugs exposes Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens to serious, and even permanent injury,” explains Sara Bartosz, Deputy Director of Litigation Strategy at Children’s Rights. “It’s a systemic violation of children’s constitutional right to be free from harm while in state custody. Missouri must do far better by its children.”

According to Bill Grimm, Directing Attorney of Child Welfare at NCYL, “For foster children, psychotropic medications, especially antipsychotics, are often used as chemical restraints and not to treat the limited illnesses for which the FDA has approved their use in children. Few children, even those children and adolescents in foster care, suffer from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder – the predominant diagnoses for which antipsychotics have FDA approval for use with children. Yet antipsychotics are some of the most frequently prescribed drugs given to foster children. This is what we’re seeing in Missouri. It’s an outlier, and children’s lives are at risk.”

Given the lack of research on the safe and appropriate use of psychotropic medications in children, it is of particular concern when children are exposed to “outlier” prescribing practices: being given medications that are not approved by the FDA for use in children, combining multiple psychotropic medications, dosages that exceed recommended amounts, or given these drugs at a very young age.

“The lack of oversight and coordination of care in Missouri is disturbing,” adds co-counsel, John Ammann, professor and supervisor in the Legal Clinics at SLU LAW. “Foster youth endure incomprehensible trauma and abuse, but rather than receiving therapeutic counseling and mental health support to treat underlying issues, they are too frequently given powerful psychotropic medications to control their behavior. The foster children of Missouri deserve better.”

“These children are being prescribed too many powerful and potentially dangerous drugs, at unacceptable dosages and at too young an age. The federal government has cautioned strongly against these practices. It’s time that Missouri is held accountable to the children in its care it promised to protect,” states Sara Bartosz.

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ABOUT CHILDREN’S RIGHTS
Fighting to transform America’s failing child welfare, juvenile justice, education and healthcare systems is one of the most important social justice movements of our time. Through strategic advocacy and legal action, Children’s Rights holds state governments accountable to America’s most vulnerable children. A national watchdog organization since 1995, Children’s Rights fights to protect and defend the rights of young people, because we believe that children have the right to the best possible futures. For more information, please visit www.childrensrights.org.

ABOUT NATIONAL CENTER FOR YOUTH LAW
The National Center for Youth Law is a non-profit law firm that helps low-income children achieve their potential by transforming the public agencies that serve them. For more information, please visit www.youthlaw.org.

ABOUT SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW LEGAL CLINICS
For more than for 40 years the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics have created a tradition of social justice by providing invaluable legal services to the greater St. Louis community. Dedicated to the University’s Jesuit mission of advocating for the disadvantaged and the betterment of the community at large, the Legal Clinics provide unique and challenging opportunities in a supportive experiential learning environment for every student who desires a clinical experience, please visit law.slu.edu/clinics.

[http://www.childrensrights.org/press-release/landmark-federal-lawsuit-charges-missouri-with-pervasive-failure-to-monitor-the-prescription-and-administration-of-powerful-psychotropic-medications-to-foster-youth/]