In 2013, TC shared a post about an overmedicated society. In the post, we covered stats on the large number of youth taking medication, many of them possibly misdiagnosed. As mentioned in that post the most common reason why medication is provided to youth is to treat ADHD and other disorders alike.
Since that post almost four years ago, I have come across a ton of other blog posts and articles with very similar if not the exact same concerns. This tells me that we’ve not gotten very far in making changes to ensure that our youth are not subjected to overmedicating.
In reviewing the latest news on the topic, it seems that of all our youth those in foster care are getting the worse end of the stick. In 2016, DelawareOnline posted an article that states foster
kids are mediated at a much higher rate than other children, 40% higher to be exact. The Children Defense Organization also posted a great article back in 2015. In their article, they stated that children in foster care are not only more likely to be prescribed medication, but they are more likely to be prescribed multiple medications at very high doses regardless of side effects. What is very scary about this are the possible long term effects that this 40% of children may face later in their lives.
I read a letter that had been written by a 12-year-old boy who told Congress that he was medicated, almost to the point of unconsciousness. The child stated that giving him, “all of these stupid meds was the stupidest thing I’ve ever experienced in foster care and the worst thing anyone could do to foster kids.” It is clear that those of us who work in the field of mental health need to step up and speak out!
In closing, TC recently connected with Elevate Addictions Services in California. This organization is one that I find to be making a difference as it assists in tackling the issues of drug addiction. It is proven that California has the largest foster care system in the country. It is further proven that 10% of the state's doctors are responsible for prescribing medications to 50% of children in care; one in four of these children are prescribed psychotropic drug to control their behavior without treatment.
Included in a post shared on Elevate Addiction Services' blog, you will find more details regarding the state's stats, a brief description of the medication's side effects, and most importantly information regarding an investigation into this topic that may have opened the eyes of those who can really make change (lawmakers). Excitingly, there are currently three bills on the table. We can only hope that the bills are passed and other states will follow in California’s footsteps! Our youth are in extreme danger…we all need to find our voice and use it! Stand up and speak out against overmedicating our children!
It takes a village.....
Tomaro Pilgrim, MSC, MSHS, HS-BCP