- A new investigation by the Denver Post revealed that foster children are prescribed psychotropic drugs at a rate 12 times higher than other children on Medicaid
- The high rates of psychotropic drug use among foster children and poor children are likely a direct result of drug company tactics that targeted doctors in the Medicaid program, influencing them to prescribe more drugs to these kids
- For foster children in the Medicaid program, nine out of the top 10 most prescribed drugs are psychotropics (compared to just one out of the top 10 drugs prescribed to non-foster children)
- Across the US, 7.5 percent of children aged 6-17 take a prescribed medication to treat emotional or behavioral difficulties
- Drug companies have paid billions of dollars in fines for illegally marketing psychiatric drugs to children, even when they aren’t approved for such uses
By Dr. Mercola
There is big money to be made in prescribing medications to kids – especially when those medications are intended to be taken for life, as many psychotropic drugs are.
These drugs, which include stimulants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers, carry the risk of serious side effects, including, ironically, psychotic symptoms (like hearing voices or paranoia), aggressive behavior, hostility, seizures, heart attack, delayed puberty, and more.
Oftentimes the side effects are far worse than the conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for which they're prescribed, and rival illegal street drugs in terms of their dangerous risks to health.
In children, the long-term effects are often largely unknown, while in the short term, we've seen shocking increases in violent and aggressive acts committed by teens taking one or more psychotropic drugs.
The number of prescriptions for psychotropic drugs for US children more than doubled between 1995 and 2000, but a new investigation by the Denver Post revealed that foster children are prescribed such drugs at a rate 12 times higher than other children on Medicaid.1
This isn’t a mistake… the high rates of psychotropic drug use among foster children and poor children is likely a direct result of drug company tactics that targeted doctors in the Medicaid program, influencing them to prescribe more drugs to these kids.
9 of the 10 Most Prescribed Drugs for Colorado Kids in Foster Care Are Psychotropics
The Denver Post investigation revealed that for foster children in the Medicaid program, nine out of the top 10 most prescribed drugs are psychotropics (compared to just one out of the top 10 drugs prescribed to non-foster children). In 2008, drug companies spent close to $800 million for sales reps to visit health care professionals specifically for antipsychotics and antidepressants.
Sales of antipsychotics alone topped $18 billion in 2011, which is more than sales of vaccines and triple the amount spent on such drugs in 2002, the Post reported. More than 1 million US kids now take antipsychotics each year, and tens of thousands of them are under the age of 5. According to the investigation:
“High rates of psychotropic drug use among poor and foster children didn't occur by mistake, government investigators say. Court documents filed in health care false-claims lawsuits show that drug companies closely tracked the prescribing habits of doctors in the Medicaid program, which pays the health care of the poor, including foster children.”
What happens to kids once they become medicated at a very young age, during some of his or her key formative years? Do these children grow up never knowing who they really are? What passions they may have had if not under the drug's influence? And will they be able to quit when they are older, or will they be turned into life-long addicts? The answers to these questions are unknown, as are the effects of most of these drugs in children.
One in 13 US Schoolkids Takes Psychiatric Drugs
Data from the National Health Interview Survey revealed that increasing rates of psychiatric drug use among kids is not confined to Colorado alone. Across the US, 7.5 percent of children aged 6-17 take a prescribed medication to treat emotional or behavioral difficulties.2
Echoing the Denver Post investigation, the Health Interview Survey data also revealed that a higher percentage of children insured by Medicaid used psychiatric drugs, as did children in families whose income was below the poverty level.
Most Antipsychotics Prescribed to Medicaid Kids Are for Off-Label Uses
One study from Rutgers University found that at least three-quarters of children prescribed antipsychotics through Medicaid took them for off-label uses, which have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).3 Among the most common conditions for which the drugs were prescribed were ADHD, conduct disorder, anxiety, and depression – none of which are FDA-approved for treatment with antipsychotics in children.
While a doctor can legally prescribe a drug for any use, even if it hasn’t been FDA-approved, it’s illegal for a drug company to advertise off-label uses or encourage a doctor to prescribe it as such. This, however, is precisely what many of them do, and billions of dollars in fines have been paid as a result. For instance:
- Pfizer paid $2.3 billion for marketing fraud related to Bextra, Lyrica, and other drugs. Charges included marketing drugs to doctors for uses for which they had not been approved and giving kickbacks to doctors and other health care professionals for prescribing their drugs.
- Pfizer hired 250 child psychiatrists to market its antipsychotic Geodon, even though it wasn’t approved for use in children. This was Pfizer's fourth settlement numbering in the multimillions in less than a decade.
- AstraZeneca settled for $520 million for trying to persuade doctors to prescribe its psychotropic drug Seroquel for unapproved uses including ADHD, sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression. Using Seroquel for improper use has been linked to an increased risk of death.
- Johnson & Johnson paid $2.2 billion for illegal marketing of the drug Risperdal for unapproved uses in children. In addition to targeting more than 1,500 child psychiatrists, Johnson & Johnson also held a “Back to School Bash” marketing campaign that aimed to increase prescriptions of Risperdal in children via ice-cream parties and free snacks and lunches.
- In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plead guilty in the largest health fraud settlement in US history. The company was fined $3 billion to resolve criminal and civil liability charges related to illegal drug marketing and withholding information about health hazards associated with its diabetes drug Avandia and others, including the antidepressant Paxil, which was illegally marketed to children and adolescents for everything from depression to shyness.
- Eli Lilly paid $1.4 billion for promoting its antipsychotic Zyprexa for off-label uses, often to children.
Why Are So Many Children Being Drugged?
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) states that up to 85 percent of children in the child welfare system meet the criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis.4 But the diagnosis of mental illness in children is far from an exact science. Modern psychiatry has expanded its reach to the point that even the most normal of emotions and mental states now fall under one labeled "disorder" or another.
They have been able to cleverly redefine mental illness with the use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This book is created by members of the American Psychiatric Association. You would think that diseases are put in this book after evaluating carefully executed scientific trials, but nothing could be further from the truth. Additions and changes to this manual are determined by votes by its members. This categorization is NOT based on science at all!
It is well-documented that psychiatric drugs in general, and atypical antipsychotics specifically, are misused across the board. Children as young as 18 months are now receiving antipsychotic drugs, despite the fact that the diseases they're designed to treat rarely develop before adolescence. So why are toddlers receiving these potent drugs? Sadly, one of the key reasons these drugs are used is their sedative effect. They're typically prescribed to control "disruptive" behavior – not to treat severe mental illness.
It's also come to light recently that the Harvard psychiatrists who invented the pediatric bipolar diagnosis were disciplined for conflicts of interest after it was revealed they'd all received millions of dollars in undeclared drug company monies.5 Even the AACAP admits “in many states there is a disproportionate number of children in foster care who receive psychotropic medication.” Indeed, according to a 2010 study, an estimated 20 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are actually misdiagnosed.6
Has Your Doctor Been Paid by Drug Companies?
Beginning in Fall 2014, you will be able to determine if a health care provider you trust is actually on the drug industry's payroll, thanks to a new federal law that entails the following:
- Drug and medical device companies will be required to report and disclose all payments (including stock options, research grants, knickknacks, consulting fees, travel expenses, and more) to physicians. Unfortunately, payments to nurses, physician assistants, and other medical professionals will not have to be disclosed
- The information will be displayed in an online government database that you will be able to search
In the meantime, you can search ProPublica's database to see the disclosed payments made to physicians in your state. Many of the most prestigious universities, including Harvard, are now banning their staff from receiving money from drug companies for speaking, and this new disclosure requirement will hopefully push more institutions in that direction.
Breaking the drug industry's stranglehold on the conventional medical industry will not be easy -- after all, the drug industry spends nearly twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development7 -- but the tide is beginning to turn. Increasing numbers of people are now waking up to these harsh realities, and you, being among those who are informed, can help share this knowledge with others. More than 1.5 million people receive this newsletter, and together, we can make a huge difference.
The ultimate goal is to have a critical mass of people refuse the unnecessarily dangerous and counterproductive solutions currently offered by conventional medicine, as this will be the powerful stimulus to generate authentic change. You can also act now, on a personal level, by making the necessary lifestyle changes that will allow you to take control of your health, instead of leaving it in the hands of the drug industry – especially when it comes to your kids.
Alternatives to Drugs for Behavioral and Emotional Challenges in Children
If your child is suffering from an emotional or mental challenge, please seek help, but do so from someone who does not regard psychotropic drugs as a first line of defense. Please understand that behavioral problems in children – including what might appear to be serious mental disorders – are very frequently related to improper diet, emotional upset, and exposure to toxins.
Increasingly, scientific evidence shows that nourishing your gut flora with the beneficial bacteria found in traditionally fermented foods (or a probiotic supplement) is extremely important for proper brain function, and that includes psychological well-being and mood control. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has successfully demonstrated the power and effectiveness of this theory. In her Cambridge, England clinic, she successfully treats children and adults with a wide range of conditions, including autism, ADD/ADHD, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems using the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) Nutritional Program, which she developed.
Her GAPS theory – which is fully explained in her excellent book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome – is an elegant description of how such conditions can develop as a direct result of gastrointestinal toxicity. Another helpful tool is my three-part interview with a renowned children's health expert, the late Dr. Lendon Smith, on Non-Drug Treatment of ADD/ADHD. Here are a few additional guidelines to help you address underlying toxins in your child, without, or at least BEFORE, agreeing to any kind of drug therapy:
Additionally, whole and even sprouted wheat contains physiologically significant amounts of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which can have adverse effects on mental health due to its neurotoxic actions. Wheat can also interfere with the production of serotonin, the largest concentration of which can, again, be found in your intestines, not your brain. Try eliminating all gluten-containing grains first for 1-2 weeks and see if you don't notice a significant improvement in your child's behavior.
- Severely limit or eliminate fructose from your child's diet, as sugar/fructose has been linked to mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia.
- Avoid giving your child ANY processed foods, especially those containing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. This includes lunchmeats and hot dogs, which are common food staples in many households.
- Replace soft drinks, fruit juices, and pasteurized milk with pure water. This is HUGE since high fructose corn syrup is a primary source of calories in children.
- Make sure your child is getting large regular doses of healthy bacteria, either with high-quality fermented organic foods and/or high-quality probiotic supplements.
- Give your child plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil. Also, make sure to balance your child's intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, by simultaneously limiting their intake of vegetable oils.
- Include as many whole organic foods as possible in your child's diet, both to reduce chemical exposure and increase nutrient content of each meal. See my nutrition plan for a comprehensive guide to healthful eating.
- Also reduce or eliminate grains from your child's diet, especially wheat. Beyond the fact that even healthy organic whole grains can cause problems as they, too, break down into sugars, gluten-containing grains have pharmacologically active peptides that can contribute to cognitive and behavioral issues in susceptible children.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners and colors of all kinds.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise and outdoor playtime, remembering that midday sunlight provides the UVB wavelengths necessary to produce vitamin D3.
- Get them out into the sun to help maintain optimal vitamin D levels. Scientists are now beginning to realize vitamin D is involved in maintaining the health of your brain, as they've recently discovered vitamin D receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system. There's even evidence indicating vitamin D improves your brain's detoxification process. For children and pregnant women, getting enough vitamin D is especially crucial, as it may play a major role in protecting infants from autism. If natural sun exposure is not feasible, for whatever reason, you can use either a safe tanning bed or an oral vitamin D3 supplement.
- Give your child a way to address his or her emotion health. Even children can benefit from the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which you or an EFT practitioner can teach them to use.
- Be sure you are also providing positive praise to your child. Dr. Smith believed parents should be able to say nice things to their child twice as often as they give commands or ask questions. If you are shouting and scolding more than you are complimenting and rewarding your child, it could be contributing to psychiatric problems.
- Prevent exposure to toxic metals and chemicals by replacing personal care products, detergents, and household cleaners with all-natural varieties. Metals like aluminum, cadmium, lead, and mercury are commonly found in thousands of different food products, household products, personal products, and untold numbers of industrial products and chemicals. Also be aware of exposure to metals from vaccinations and dental fillings. The presence of toxic metals in your child's body is highly significant, as they are capable of causing serious health problems by interfering with normal biological functioning. The health effects range from minor physical ailments to chronic diseases, and altered mood and behavior.
Cannabis could save her epileptic son, but it's illegal in FL, so they've never tried it.
Renee Petro has already been living a parent’s worst nightmare for years: her 12-year-old son Branden suffers from a rare form of pediatric epilepsy called FIRES, which causes uncontrolled seizures that can be fatal. On Tuesday, a new nightmare began for Renee, when Florida Child Protective Services showed up at her home to investigate an anonymous tip that Renee was not administering Branden’s prescription anti-seizure medication and was instead treating him with cannabis extract.
“I’ve never used cannabis medicine for Branden,” said Renee. “I know fully well that cannabis would help him, but because I live in an 'illegal' state we have never tried it. I have not broken any laws.”
What Renee has done, however, is advocate loudly for reform both in Florida and across the country, organizing parents' rallies and speaking to the media, calling for broad-based medical cannabis legislation that could help her son as well as many others. Ladybud Magazine has reported on Renee’s activism numerous times.
“I feel like our family was targeted,” said Renee, “just because I’m doing what our beautiful country is built on: freedom of speech. I’m just trying to change and better the world that we live in.”
When the Cps investigator arrived at the family’s residence, Renee was picking up her 9-year-old daughter Rachel from school and Branden was at home with his visiting nurse. The nurse frantically called Renee to tell her that an investigator was at the door and Renee rushed home, fearing the worst.
When Renee arrived, the Cps investigator explained that she would have to question the children in a separate room so that Renee could not influence their answers. The investigator isolated a terrified Rachel from Renee and asked the child, “Does your mother give your brother illegal drugs?” Renee said the investigator also asked Rachel other questions that did not directly pertain to Branden’s medical treatment.
“She asked Rachel if I was 'nice' and if she felt safe – these questions were totally not what the tip was about – they were asking more about if I’m some bad person or bad mother," Renee said. "They were making me out to be a monster.”
The investigator also tried to interview Branden, but he was in a “post-ictal” state recovering from a seizure and was non-responsive. As Branden slept in his bed, the investigator asked Renee to move his head and position him so he could be photographed as evidence.
“I feel like our family was violated, like we were raped,” said Renee. “My daughter was terrified. She was afraid she was going to be taken away from our family.”
Renee said that the investigator also inventoried and photographed all of Branden’s prescription medications. Terrified of losing her children and wishing to cooperate fully, Renee also shared Branden’s latest labwork, which shows the levels of the prescription drugs in his blood – levels which Renee said prove that all Branden’s pharmaceutical medications have been administered as prescribed.
“I cooperated like I was an open book,” said Renee. “I’ve been doing it by the book all along because I don’t want to commit a crime. I don’t want to lose my children. All I want to do is change laws to get the chance to save my son’s life.”
Renee quickly shared the story with local news media, believing the public would rally around her family as as it has in the past when stories about her activism and advocacy work have been covered by local television stations. The reporting about this incident as well as the public response has been overwhelmingly positive, said Renee.
“The medical cannabis community has been incredibly supportive,” Renee explains. “And even people who have no idea about medical marijuana have extended their support and said what is happening is cruel. They say, ‘We’ve seen the news stories and we don’t know too much about [medical marijuana] but we see that you love your son.’ “
Although the Cps investigation has left Renee feeling vulnerable and afraid, it has also strengthened her commitment to advocate for medical cannabis.
“I’m not backing down,” said Renee. “In fact, this is making the tiger roar even louder and I’m going to continue fighting [for medical cannabis laws to change]. I am an activist to help him heal.”
Renee fears that the investigation is not over, however, and she is preparing to weather more questioning and scrutiny.
“As a strong and determined but absolutely terrified parent right now, I’m reaching out for people to help me,” said Renee. “We are going to need help legally, and I’m rallying people to support our family in this fight because I know that we’re going to need it.”
False allegations are nothing new to these brasen criminals. Many Social Workers are encouraged to lie on reports in order to take your children and are backed by their Supervisors. You have no way of complaining; who would you complain to anyway? The kidnappers are the ones parents have to negotiate with. The children have a bounty and the parents pay with their lives and still lose in court, as there is no one to defend them.
Unfortunately, parents believe their Public Defenders are going to “take care of them”, little do they know….. it will rarely if ever happen.
Social Workers (CPS) are “hardened to these cases, and don’t care about the parents” as I personally was told by a Social Worker.
They are given bonus’ and have Quotas to take children. Yours COULD be next!
These are the people making life decisions for you and your children!
A version of this column originally appeared in amiablyme.wordpress.com.
New developments in the case of Maryanne Godboldo — the Detroit, Mich., woman whose house was recently raided by a SWAT team with a tank, and whose daughter was subsequently kidnapped by these armed terrorists — are set to hopefully clear the mother of any wrongdoing in the matter (http://www.naturalnews.com/032090_M…).
Recently-released court documents prove that the consent form Maryanne signed agreeing to give her daughter the highly-dangerous anti-psychotic drug Risperdal was optional, and that she was always free to cease using them at any time.
In other words, the raid conducted by state-sanctioned thugs on behalf of Child Protective Services (CPS) was nothing more than an illegal kidnapping by armed terrorists who violated Maryanne and her family’s legal, civil, and God-given rights. At this point, Maryanne truly has a fully-validated case against CPS and its criminal cabal, should she decide to pursue aggressive legal action against them. After all, they illegally broke into Maryanne’s home and proceeded to kidnap her child without just cause.
The consent document Maryanne signed clearly states that she would “not be forced” to administer the medication, and that her daughter was free to “stop taking it at any time.” Maryanne had also consulted with another doctor, who recommended that she stop using the deadly drug and instead pursue alternative options — which clearly proves that the child was not being neglected as some have accused.
“I think that document proves our case,” said Wanda Evans, Maryanne’s lawyer in the case. “She understood she had a right to stop giving the medication. If you sign an informed consent that says you can stop, and you stop, you did the right thing, and CPS is just being nasty.”
According to reports, Maryanne’s daughter, Ariana, is still being held in captivity at a CPS facility in Northville, Mich. Supporters from around the country continue to raise money to help Maryanne’s legal battle to free her daughter, and you can help support these efforts by visiting:
Sources for this story include:
A version of this column originally appeared in www.cchrint.org.
If you didn’t believe before that your children can be taken on false allegations; if you didn’t believe before that many parents did nothing wrong to have their children taken and put into foster homes, where they are brutally abused and sometimes killed, or put up for adoption all to boost Federal and Non-profit Grants, you might now believe.
You may be a good parent, a good care giver to your family member. You may trust your attorney, but… Your attorney CAN NOT DEFEND YOU against Social Services!!!!
If you don’t believe NOW, then makes some calls to Family Attorneys, call out of the phone books, call University Professors, ask them. You will see these are SECRET COURTS, where, if YOU have your child taken away.. YOU WILL NOT EVEN BE ALLOWED IN THE COURT ROOMS when they discuss your case, when they RAILROAD you into False allegations. And if you do decide to fight them.. YOU PUT YOURSELF IN JEOPARDY OF BEING JAILED!!! And sometimes imprisoned, so does your attorney.
Have any questions? Ask me, I’ll be happy to tell you what I have learned.
A version of this column originally appeared in amiablyme.wordpress.com.