Target: U.S. Congress
Goal: Investigate and stop over-prescription of antipsychotic drugs to foster children.
Recent studies show a disturbing over-prescription of antipsychotic drugs for children in foster care. Foster children often receive more than one prescription of powerful psychotropic drugs like Seroquel and Zyprexa, drugs used to treat severe bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in adults. Tell Congress to investigate these dangerous and irresponsible medical practices and illegal use of Medicaid funds to pay for them.
Studies exposing the disturbing trends of over-prescription of psychotropic drugs began in the early 2000s. For example, a 2003 study in Florida found that 55% of foster children in the state had been prescribed psychotropic drugs, 40% of them without even receiving a psychiatric evaluation. A 2004 study in Texas found that 34.7% of foster children in the state were receiving one or more anti-psychotic drug.
The problem is that drugs like Zyprexa or Seroquel which were designed for serious psychiatric conditions in adults are being prescribed for foster children with behavioral problems. Combining one or more of these medications is even more dangerous, as these medications can be known to cause depression in young children. That’s what happened in the case of Gabriel Meyers, a nine year old foster child taking Symbyax, an anti-depressant not meant for children, who killed himself in 2009 after an altercation with his foster brother. Gabriel’s doctor was cited by the FDA for over-prescribing the drug.
Medicaid pays for the medical treatment of foster children but there are supposed to be guidelines in place that prevent Medicaid from paying for these prescriptions that are not meant for children. What is occurring is a costly abuse of government money with fatal consequences.
Recent studies still show that foster children are receiving dangerous cocktails of psychotropic drugs at alarming rates. Senator Tom Carper has asked the General Accountability to look into this shocking disregard for children’s health and abuse of government funds. Sign the petition and demand that Congress addresses this problem now.