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The Florida Investigation

This investigation of foster children and adolescents on psychiatric drugs arose because Department of Children & Families workers entered false information about parental consent and what drugs Gabriel Myers was taking into their reports. Gabriel Myers was a 7 year old boy who committed suicide. Violence and suicidal behavior are thought to be side effects of some of the drugs young Gabriel had been prescribed. This false information would have covered up a crime. The crime involved parental consent and monitoring the drugs Gabriel was taking.

In April 2009, Gabriel Meyers, a 7-year-old Florida boy, committed suicide by hanging in the bathroom of a foster care home. In the last few days of his life: “He was told his mother no longer had visitation rights, that he would probably be going back to Ohio, where he alleged he had been abused; the doctor changed his medication, he changed foster homes and he got a new counselor,” George Sheldon, secretary of the Department of Children and Families, stated in the May 12, 2009 St Petersburg Times.

In the year leading up to his suicide, Gabriel had been on the stimulant drugs Adderall and Vyvanse, the SSRI antidepressant Lexapro, Zyprexa, and Eli Lilly’s Symbyax, a drug containing both Zyprexa and Prozac, recently FDA approved for “treatment resistant” depression.

Gabriel was on Symbyax and Vyvanse when he died and neither prescription had been authorized by either his parents, or a court order signed by a judge, in violation of Florida law. He was listed as being on only Adderall in the Department of Children and Families’ database.

“On six separate occasions, Gabriel’s caseworker, Lawrence Chusid, documented that DCF had “parental consent” for the child’s medications,” according the May 9, 2009, St Petersburg Times

“But in the hundreds of records in Gabriel’s file released by DCF late last month, there is only one form signed by his mother, Candace, a blanket authorization for medical treatment for her son,” dated June 29, 2008, the Times reports.

From FDA Throws Lifeline to Antipsychotic Pushers

Bending the law has tended to be the rule in Mental Health care. There is no adequate oversight of mental health facilities and services throughout the country. A few more laws like the one in Florida would help to change this situation, if they were enforced. That’s a big if. We’re having this investigation in Florida now because a death ensued when they weren’t enforced. Had there been no such law, that death would not have been any less tragic. As laws of this sort have the potential for preventing a great many more such deaths, advocates and officials in other states should prick up their ears and take notice.