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Thread: Legislature moves to limit foster care's reliance on psychiatric drugs

  1. #1
    Olympic Champ kr1963's Avatar
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    Idea Legislature moves to limit foster care's reliance on psychiatric drugs

    In wake of child's suicide, Legislature moves to limit foster care's reliance on psychiatric drugs - St. Petersburg Times

    TALLAHASSEE — A year after a 7-year-old boy heavily medicated on powerful psychiatric drugs hanged himself in his Margate foster home, lawmakers are pushing to reform state medical requirements for foster children. The Senate's Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee unanimously approved a measure Thursday designed to curb the prescription of mental-health drugs to children in state care.

    The proposed law would require the state Department of Children and Families to assign volunteer guardians to oversee each child's mental health care. It prohibits foster children from being the subject of clinical drug trials and raises the age at which children are allowed to take these drugs from 6 to 11 in many cases.

    The measure (SB2718 and HB1567) would also give children some say in the drugs they take.
    "We are not just going to medicate them until they turn 18 and then dump them into adulthood," said sponsor Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Brandon, chairwoman of the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee.

    The state's growing use of adult medication on emotionally and mentally troubled children has sparked debate for years.
    Multiple state studies show child-welfare doctors and case managers routinely failed to follow legally required treatment plans or properly document when and why drugs were given to foster children, creating a network of youth sedated by "chemical straitjackets," Storms said.

    The death of Gabriel Myers in April further revealed the shortcomings of 2005 legislation that required more information sharing, parental involvement and second-party review of doctors' prescriptions for the youngest children.
    Because foster children are often cared for by multiple service contractors, communication lapses and fragmented mental health care are still rampant, a recent state report on Myers' death determined.

    "Our response to him was to medicate him, and medicate him, and medicate him," Storms said.
    Under the bill, proposed medical treatment plans must be explained to a child and the child must consent to the treatment in many cases before taking the drugs.

    "What this means is less medication and more behavior analysis so that they are not just sedated little zombies," said Jan Montgomery, president of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis, which would train legal guardians to observe and treat behavioral problems.

    Still, Montgomery said she did not expect a sudden culture shift, given failed past efforts to track foster children's medical records.

    "It's going to be a slow slide toward what we are hoping is the right way," Montgomery said.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Legislature moves to limit foster care's reliance on psychiatric drugs

    As someone who works with kids, including foster kids, which have psychiatric and behavior problems on a daily basis... medicine isn't the be-all-end-all, but it is an absolutely essential tool to helping some kids cope.

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    Olympic Champ kr1963's Avatar
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    Default Re: Legislature moves to limit foster care's reliance on psychiatric drugs

    There are other ways of handling kids that have nothing to do with putting them on mind altering drugs & putting lots of tax payer dollars in the already super rich pharmaceutical companies.

    I worked with a MD in Sarasota who merely did food allergy testing on LABELED kids & handled about 90% of them that way. The others he changed their diets. These are not "medicines"but DRUGS.

    There is an unspoken problem here in the TB area where kids are using psychotropics as the new high. Drug stores in Pasco county are robbed every weak for all sorts of "medications. It's outta control.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Legislature moves to limit foster care's reliance on psychiatric drugs

    Depends on the kid, depends on the drug. Every situation is different. I can guess your thoughts on the subject and I'm not going to fight you to the death on it... But in my experience some kids (not all) really do need psychiatric drugs to function. It's sad but that's just how it is. This doesn't mean that drugs can't be overdone or misused, all I'm saying is they have their place. If you don't agree- so be it. We aren't going to change each other's minds.

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    Olympic Champ kr1963's Avatar
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    Default Re: Legislature moves to limit foster care's reliance on psychiatric drugs

    No problem AS.

    However I would bet that for every kid you had problems with, if you had them medically examined, a full battery of tests, you would find that they are either allergic OR under-nourished.

    Wouldn't be fixing there diets a nicer solution then putting a kid on a drug where the side effect is sometimes suicide? That's just roulette...

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