MAY 24, 2011
Palm Beach Post: Antipsychotic drugs and juvenile offenders special report

Click on highlighted links for related pages

Florida has plied children in state juvenile jails with heavy doses of powerful antipsychotic medications. The pills,
widely viewed as the “big guns” of psychiatry, can cause suicidal thoughts and other dangerous side effects. Yet, in
state-run jails and residential programs, antipsychotics were among the top drugs bought for kids - and they routinely
were doled out for reasons that never were approved by federal regulators,
Part 1 of a Palm Beach Post
investigation has found. In Part 2 of the report, the Post says that in Florida's juvenile jails, psychiatrists entrusted
with diagnosing and prescribing drugs for wayward children have taken huge speaker fees from drug makers -
companies that profit handsomely when doctors put kids on antipsychotic pills. The Post also reports that
Department of Juvenile Justice has continued giving children antipsychotic pills despite a series of lawsuits filed
against the drugs' makers in the past three years.

St. Petersburg Times staff writer
Robert Farley has also reported on the growing use of antipsychotics among Florida
children. In 2007, Farley reported that in the past seven years,
the number of Florida children prescribed such drugs
has increased some 250 percent. Last year, more than 18,000 state kids on Medicaid were given prescriptions for
antipsychotic drugs. Even children as young as 3 years old. Last year, 1,100 Medicaid children under 6 were
prescribed antipsychotics, a practice so risky that state regulators say it should be used only in extreme cases.
Locked up and dosed: Some experts
and insiders charge that after the
handcuffs come off, many juveniles in
state custody are 'chemically restrained’
with antipsychotic drugs that produce a
tranquilizing effect.
Cathy Peck is ambivalent about the drugs that help control her
son Matthew. They help, that much she knows: He stopped
biting his siblings and destroying the house. But the drugs
were developed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in
adults. What are they doing to his 7-year-old brain?