GAO: Foster Children Prescribed Psych Drugs At Alarming Rates
December 5, 2011 by Sam Rolley
The Federal government is failing to protect children in foster care from the devastating effects of potent, psychiatric medications that alter the mind, according to a new report.
A report filed in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that thousands of foster children across the Nation are being prescribed powerful psychiatric medications at doses that exceed the maximum levels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Within that number there is a subgroup that’s taking five or more psychiatric drugs simultaneously despite potential safety issues. Some of the drugs are not even approved for psychiatric use by the FDA.
The report’s findings are the result of a two-year probe featuring five States: Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas. Of the approximately 100,000 foster kids studied, investigators found that about one-third were prescribed at least one psychiatric drug.
The States spent more than $375 million for prescriptions provided through fee-for-service programs to foster and non-foster children. The report says that while the high cost does not necessarily show that doctors prescribe the drugs inappropriately for financial gain, there is no evidence that it was safe to take five or more psychiatric drugs in adults or children; yet hundreds of both foster and non-foster children were prescribed such a medication regimen.