• Shows Up In Unlikely Place: Prominence Of Foster Kids Drugged With Antipsychotics

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    Pharmaceutical companies have recently paid out the largest legal settlements in U.S. history — including the largest criminal fines ever imposed on corporations — for illegally marketing antipsychotic drugs. The payouts totaled more than $5 billion. But the worst costs of the drugs are being borne by the most vulnerable patients: children and teens in psychiatric hospitals, foster care and juvenile prisons, as well as elderly people in nursing homes. They are medicated for conditions for which the drugs haven’t been proven safe or effective — in some cases, with death as a known possible outcome.

    An emotional video is going around about a boy who surprised a news anchor after she helped bring his story to the public. By featuring his story multiple times, she played a big role in securing him a loving home with a loving family.

    It's extremely and tearfully touching to see not only his suffering come to an end but his gracious and heartfelt thanks as he surprises the news anchor and she bursts into joyful tears of reunion.

    What's not to love about it? It could warm the cockles of Ebenezer's heart. Nothing but “feels” all around. Call me Ms. Negative, but there is actually a dark lining to this white fluffy cloud. We hope that having a loving homelife has fully healed Ke'onte's nightmarish experience in foster care, which is casually skimmed over in the piece.

    First here is the video showcasing  14-year-old Ke'onte's arduous path to find a family:

    So you've …

    Ke'onte Cook, a 12-year-old from Texas who testified at the Senate hearing, was on up to five drugs at a time while in foster care, including for bipolar disorder. The drugs made him irritable and exhausted, he said, caused a loss of appetite and “put me in a lights-out mode 15 minutes after I'd taken them.” Cook was adopted two years ago, and is now off all of the medications he was on while in foster care.

    “I think putting me on all of these stupid meds was the most idiotic thing I experienced in foster care, and the worst thing someone could do to foster kids,” Cook said. “I was upset about my situation, not bipolar or ADHD.”

    Other highlights from the report which include antipsychotics, ADHD drugs, SSRIs and anti-anxiety all in one:

    • Children in foster care are significantly more likely than other kids to be given mind-altering drugs, according to a study…at an age and at doses that exceed the maximum FDA-approved levels — both of which carry serious health risks.
    • Some 3,841 infants under age one were prescribed a psychotropic drug in the five states the report looked at. Seventy-six of them were in foster care. [There's NO reason for this to ever happen!]
    • Foster children were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates 2.7 to 4.5 times higher than other children in Medicaid in 2008.
    • Five states spent more than $375 million in Medicaid funds for psychotropic drugs for both foster and non-foster children.

    Here's another troubling statistic from Worthy Tales, which made the first news video go viral:

    According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, there are almost 400 thousand children in the foster care system in the United States alone. Although around 100 thousand of these children are eligible for adoption, about 30% will wait over 3 years before they finally find a home. Ke’onte’s story is just one of the hundreds of thousand stories of children affected by the foster care system.

    That's 300,000 not there to be adopted – the likeliest reason is that they are there at the behest of Child Protective Services. Unfortunately, while Ke'onte was clearly waiting to be adopted, many, many of these children are taken from good homes. There is a lucrative incentive for workers to find a reason to remove children and a financial incentive to be a foster family to house them. Sadly, these children are often denied legitimate medical care for existing conditions that warrant medical care.

    I'm using mostly mainstream sources for the benefit of skeptics. The tragic thing is, mainstream news only reports on such horrors when they've already become problems too big to ignore. To that extent, they are not very helpful at all. They may help a few children like Ke'onte find a home, but what about thousands of other children who have no one to help? The NPR report and Ke'onte's testimony led to a few changes and promises “to close the oversight gap” – does that sound like a legitimate change to you? Who were the doctors that allowed antipsychotic prescriptions for thousands of babies?? Who are the “advocates” participating in this practice?

    For as much good feeling as videos like this engender in people, hopefully it extends into the realm of protection where one obviously cannot personally adopt every child in sight. The only things I could suggest at this point are to be aware of it, examine the practice, get closer to it locally and be sure to contact state and local officials to let them know you are aware of it; that it's unacceptable and make demands that it stop immediately.

    As heart wrenching as it is, you might want to check in on Medical Kidnap to see where children are pulled from good families and receive the absolute, horrendous opposite of loving care, from CPS workers and foster families who get paid state stipends to house the children. To also see what you can do about it.

    Consequently, they can be prescribed for unapproved uses like behavior control and sleep-inducement in children and the elderly, without government scrutiny or fear of prosecution for “overprescribing.”

    In other words, addiction is basically seen as a worse side effect than, say, death (or any other outcome such as Type 2 diabetes or the complete inability to feel pleasure). The fact that the most vulnerable youth and elderly often cannot advocate for themselves has made it easier to sweep the problem under the rug.

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