Friday, November 12, 2004

Foster kids overmedicated

Having been a foster child myself at times (back before the last ice age) this piece by the San Antonio Texas radio station WOAI really resonated with me: Foster Kids on Mind-Altering Drugs.

A three year old boy was given two different psychotropic drugs after a temper tantrum, plus Benadryl "to help him sleep".

Any parent can tell you that a three year old will throw temper tantrums, especially if they are upset at being separated from parents and siblings, in a strange environment with other children they do not know, and in the control of people who do not love them or care (in the long term) what happens to them.

Yeah, they are hard to handle. Even a happy, healthy 3 year old is a handful! Good food, a non-restimulative environment (including no television), no sugar, and plenty of sleep will give them a chance to find their bearings and be themselves.

What kind of deranged doctor would force mind-altering drugs on a pre-schooler?

What kind of doctor would put one child on 17 different medications at the same time?

Doctors with their own drug problems, as it turns out -- here's a brief transcript of the show:

"State records show one of the biggest prescribers in San Antonio is a radiologist. Sure it's legal, but what does a radiologist know about a child's mental health?

The Trouble Shooters also found some of these doctors have documented drug problems of their own. One case is Dr. Charles Sargent, a San Antonio psychiatrist. He's listed as one of the state's top prescribers of antidepressants to kids on Medicaid. The records we obtained show he also prescribes stimulants and powerful antipsychotics.

The Texas State Board of Medical Examiners put Dr. Sargent on probation in recent months because state records show he was busted for prescribing narcotics to himself, his girlfriend and her son. As part of his probation, he must submit to random drug testing.

He declined our request for an on-camera interview, but told me by phone the anti-depressant he prescribes is one that does have FDA approval for kids. He did not return our call questioning his suspension with the state medical board.

Another doctor who shows up as a frequent prescriber on state records is Dr. Benny Fernandez, the medical director at Laurel Ridge Psychiatric Hospital. Dr. Fernandez says his practice is primarily treating foster kids. He says psychotropics are necessary for a lot of these kids.

"I think the way we are moving now is using them as a last resort if we can," Dr. Fernandez tells Tanji Patton. Patton asks, "When you see more than 60% in one month period, that was looked at on medications, do you think it's being used as a last resort?"

Dr. Fernandez replies, "Well, those numbers seem a little bit high."

It's obviously NOT a last resort - it is the first thing the psychiatrists do.

The more you find out about what psychiatry is really up to, the more incensed you ought to become. For breaking news on this, and to report psychiatric abuses that you know about, go here: CCHR. I've been a member of CCHR since 1971 - CCHR has closed down hundreds of psychiatric hospitals for barbarities you would not believe without documents, and has gotten about 1700 psychiatrists jailed over the last 35 years for crimes against their patients. Just this last year they helped expose and pass legislation against the barbaric practice (in Italy) of bed confinement--basically wire cages around beds, in which psychiatric patients were kept for as much as a month straight.

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