A Florida Senator Challenges The Drugging Of Juvenile Offenders

A Florida Senator is taking on the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice over its practice of prescribing, or rather over-prescribing, powerful psychiatric drugs to kids.

The news report, as found in TheLedger.com, bears the heading, Senator Wants Answers From Department of Juvenile Justice’s Use of Drugs.

Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Brandon, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs, scolded agency officials earlier this week after they responded to questions about DJJ’s policies on medicating children without mentioning the agency’s internal investigation into the practice.

What is the problem here? Maybe those juveniles are disturbed?

But Storms said the drugs have lasting consequences. “Aside from the effects on the human body, any child who’s ever been on any psychotropic drug is not eligible for the military,” Storms said.

Yikes, huh? This is worse than the government’s former “don’t ask don’t tell” policy towards gays in the military, and some people would say it has something to do with “stigma”. Not being inclined to give much credence to invisible marks of disgrace, I’m more inclined to think it has something to do with prejudice and oppression..

She also noted that DJJ’s 34 percent medication rate was much higher than the 14.8 percent rate of use of medication reported by another agency, the Department of Children and Families.

If it sounds like the DJJ is using psychiatric drugs to punish minors, such is probably the case. One thing that is for certain is that the number of kids prescribed psychiatric drugs in the DJJ should not be more than double the number of kids prescribed drugs under the DCF. This statistic looks, smells, and tastes like foul play. It’s a figure that shouts over-diagnosis and over-drugging.

I’d say Florida is fortunate to have a senator like Senator Storms. You don’t know how many other senators in other states would just sweep a matter like this under the rug.