Youths in juvenile detention drugged

Non-psychotic youths are being given neuroleptic drugs in juvenile detention facilities according to a story in Fair Warning, Antipsychotic Drugs Improperly Given to Youths in Juvenile Detention, Report Finds.

Many youths held in juvenile detention centers are being given potent antipsychotic drugs generally intended to treat bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, even though they have not been diagnosed with either problem, according to an investigation by Youth Today.

This is extremely distressing news as the use of these drugs can cause a number of physical health complications. The use of these pharmaceutical products has additionally been credited with causing and prolonging many psychiatric conditions.

The investigation focused on five states that provided comprehensive information about their spending for antipsychotic drugs for incarcerated juveniles. It found that 70% of such prescriptions were filled for conditions other than bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Instead, the prescriptions frequently were written for, among other things, mood disorders or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD.

So some states are engaging in a little “off labeling” prescribing of psychiatric drugs when it comes to kids in juvenile detention. Don’t they know that’s illegal?! Prescribing drugs for uses to which they were neither intended nor approved is fraud.

The article also reported that 34 states said they did not have such information available or never responded to the one-year investigation by Youth Today — which the advocacy organization contends raises questions about whether the vast majority of states even monitor use or spending on antipsychotic drugs in juvenile centers.

This is only the tip of the “off label” prescribing scandal that has developed due to the overzealous advertizing efforts, and the active encouragement, of big pharmaceutical manufacturers. Although I haven’t been able to access the article in Youth Today mentioned above due to a technical glitch, laurels go to that publication for conducting a timely and much needed investigation of this sort.