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Some Doctors on Payroll Prescribing Psychotropic ‘Chemical Restraints’ to Kids in Florida Juvenile Justice

May 22nd, 2011   No Comments   Psychotropic

Gabriel Myers, 7, died of suicide. Dennis Maltez, 12, died of serotonin syndrome. Both were on psychotropic medications later found to be excessive or inappropriate for their unique cases. Guardians, advocates and child welfare and foster care attorneys wonder: Could history be repeating itself?

For children in Florida’s juvenile jails, heavy doses of powerful antipsychotic medications seem to be the norm — especially when these “big guns” of psychiatry, which can cause suicidal thoughts and other dangerous side effects, are dispensed by doctors reportedly being speaking and other fees by pharmaceutical companies.

According to a Palm Beach Post investigative report, these drugs “routinely were doled out for reasons that never were approved by federal regulators.” In response to the report, the paper noted that the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has “ordered a sweeping review of the department’s use of antipsychotic medications.”

“In some cases, the drugs are prescribed by contract doctors who have taken huge speaker fees and other gifts from makers of antipsychotic pills, companies that reap staggering profits selling medications,” the paper reported.

Regarding the level of use, Broward County Public Defender Howard Fink­elstein, whose office represents children in juvenile court, told the Post, “This is a very important issue. If kids are being given these drugs without proper diagnosis, and it is being used as a ‘chemical restraint,’ I would characterize it as a crime. A battery – a battery of the brain each and every time it is given.”

Read the entire story here.

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