Foster Care Children Abused with Psych Drugs_ CBS Eve News

Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2006 1:38 PM
Subject: Psychiatry Attempts to Legitimize Drugging America’s Children of Any Age_Bloomberg/ Assoc Press

FYI

On Oct. 18, CBS Evening News aired an investigative report about the
drugging of America’s children in foster care: (synopsis below)
CBS News national  correspondent Byron Pitts reported case examples of
abuse: “Andrea Holcomb lost custody of her son when he was 7, after her ex- husband
made allegations of sexual abuse, . These allegations later proved  false –
but in the meantime,  Colby was placed in the Texas foster  care system. For 18 months, he was in
at least five foster homes.  It’s a time that still haunts Colby and his family.”

“Andrea says Colby was on at least 20 different drugs when he was in  foster
care. Yet, she says she has “no idea” why and says it was  never explained
to her. While in foster care, Colby was also diagnosed as bipolar. According  to his
medical records, he was taking as many as four medications at  the same time
that gave him seizures.”

Predictably, a psychiatrist interviewed, who is said to be leading a
nationwide study on the  impact of anti-psychotic drugs have on all children
said:  “It is a serious step to use an anti-psychotic, there’s no doubt  about it.
But I think it is also very important to realize that these  medications are
used under very serious circumstances to actually  help patients who have
serious symptoms.”

Gwen Olsen, a former pharmaceuticals representative who quit her job and
wrote the book, “Confessions Of A Prescription Drug Pusher,” was far more
candid about how the drugs are known to work in children: “They clamp down
on the central nervous system. In effect, they  reduce your mobility and
that sort of thing, so they are sort of like  a chemical  straitjacket.”

The CBS child drugging expose was followed by a news  announcement (Oct 20)
issued by the National Institue of Mental Health (NIMH):

“Preschoolers may benefit from low doses of medication when it is closely
monitored, but the positive effects are less evident and side effects are
somewhat greater than previous reports in older children,” said Thomas
Insel, director of NIMH, the nation’s leading psychotropic drug promotion agency.

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
veracare@ahrp.org

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<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/18/eveningnews/main2104249.shtml">http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/18/eveningnews/main2104249.shtml</a>
<strong>CBS News -Fostering Drug Use?
18 October 2006</strong>

Byron Pitts looks into allegations that kids in foster care are being over-medicated on anti-psychotic drugs: CONROE, Texas, Oct. 18, 2006 (CBS) Colby Holcomb's mom concedes that  the 8-year-old, who's been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder,  can be a handful at home.  But does such behavior merit the treatment  Colby received in foster care?

Andrea Holcomb lost custody of her son when he was 7, after her ex- husband
made allegations of sexual abuse, CBS News national  correspondent Byron
Pitts reports. These allegations later proved  false – but in the meantime,
Colby was placed in the Texas foster  care system. For 18 months, he was in
at least five foster homes.  It's a time that still haunts Colby and his
family.

Andrea says Colby was on at least 20 different drugs when he was in  foster
care. Yet, she says she has "no idea" why and says it was  never explained
to her.

While in foster care, Colby was also diagnosed as bipolar. According  to his
medical records, he was taking as many as four medications at  the same time
that gave him seizures.

"I woke up at the hospital with something stuck in my arm," Colby says.

He is not alone.
"I found babies, 2-year olds, 3-year olds being given mind-altering  drugs,"
says Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Texas' state comptroller.

Strayhorn conducted her own two-year investigation into allegations  that
foster kids in Texas are overmedicated. "Children in foster care in Texas are dying. Children in foster care  are
being drugged," Strayhorn says.

There are similar allegations being made in California, Ohio and  Florida.
"In Florida, for example, foster kids younger than 5 years old were  treated
with psychiatric medications at a rate nearly four times  higher than the
general population of children receiving Medicaid.

Gwen Olsen, a former pharmaceuticals representative who quit her job  and
wrote the book, "Confessions Of A Prescription Drug Pusher,"  knows
firsthand about the impact of anti-psychotic drugs on children.

"They clamp down on the central nervous system. In effect, they  reduce your
mobility and that sort of thing, so they are sort of like  a chemical
straitjacket," she says.

Psychiatrist Christopher Correll is leading a nationwide study on the
impact of anti-psychotic drugs have on all children.

"It is a serious step to use an anti-psychotic, there's no doubt  about it.
But I think it is also very important to realize that these  medications are
used under very serious circumstances to actually  help patients who have
serious symptoms," Correll says.
But if the foster care system is designed to protect children who've  been
harmed, why would they engage in this if in anyway it was  harmful to
children?

"To me, the true travesty of the situation is that we take children  who
just got a bum rap in life to begin with and they get into the  system and
are further abused chemically," Olsen says.

Colby Holcomb is home and feeling better. He is no longer taking any
medications – but his mother worries how many Colbys might still be  in the
system.

~~~~~~~~~

A Look At Foster Care
NEW YORK, Oct. 18, 2006 (CBS) What is foster care?
Foster family care is temporary care for children who are unable  to
remain in their own homes and are placed in the custody of the  county
children and youth agency by the courts. Foster parents are  individuals who
are committed to providing a safe, temporary home for  children who have
been abused and neglected and are unable to remain  living in their own
homes.

How many children are in foster care?
     According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent  Psychiatry,
over 500,000 children in the U.S. currently reside in  some form of foster
care as of last year. Each year, an estimated  20,000 young people “age out”
of the U.S. foster care system. Many  are only 18 years old. The average age
of a foster child is 10.

How long do children stay in foster care?
There is no set length for a foster placement. It depends on the
circumstances of the child and his/her birth family. But for the  children
in foster care on September 30, 2004, the average amount of  time they had
been in the system was 30 months. 29 percent of  children leaving care in
2004 had been away from home for a year or  longer. 53 percent of the young
people leaving the system were  reunified with their birth parents or
primary caregivers.

What are some of the challenges kids in foster care face?
Being removed from their home and placed in foster care is a  difficult
and stressful experience for any child. Many of these  children have
suffered some form of serious abuse or neglect. About  30 percent of
children in foster care have severe emotional,  behavioral, or developmental
problems, according to the American  Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry.

To learn more about foster care:
** After a year-long study, the Pew Commission on Children in  Foster
Care recently issued a set of prescriptions for reform  designed to prevent
unnecessary placements and to speed the movement  of children out of foster
care. You can read more about them here.
** For more information about foster care from the National  Foster
Parent Association.

** Click here to read some statistics about foster care from the
Administration for Children and Families.

** Casey Family Programs’ mission is to provide and improve –  and
ultimately to eliminate the need for – foster care by providing  direct
services and promoting advances in child-welfare practice and  policy.