Which is easier?
1) To medicate an autistic child
2) To physically restrain an autistic child
3) To pay $200 per hour to a therapist to talk an autistic child through problems.
Guess which option MCFD has used with Ayn Van Dyk?
Antipsychotic medication can cause a litany of health problems such as severe weight gain, an increased risk of diabetes and irreversible movement disorders, yet it is among the top-selling drugs in North America.
BRINDA ADHIKARI, JOAN MARTELLI and SARAH KOCH authored an article on December 1st entitled, “Doctors Put Foster Children at Risk with Mind-Altering Drugs.” In the article, among other things they say, “Across America, doctors are putting foster children on powerful, mind-altering drugs at rates up to 13 times that of children in the general population. What's more, doctors are prescribing foster children drugs at doses beyond what the Food and Drug Administration has approved, sometimes in potentially dangerous combinations, according to a new report by the federal Government Accountability Office.”
Here's a list of some of the most common drugs that are prescribed:
Abilify is approved to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder in some adolescent and teens, as well as irritability associated with autism spectrum disorder. But the drug is prescribed off-label in children as a mood stabilizer and to treat ADHD symptoms. Abilify received a black box warning label for inducing suicidal feelings in children.
Seroquel/Seroquel XR is approved to treat schizophrenia and acute manic episodes of bipolar disorder in some adolescents and teens. Its long-releasing version, Seroquel XR, is not approved for children. However, both drugs are used off-label as a sedative for children with sleep and anxiety disorders.
Risperdal is approved to treat acute manic episodes of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in children as young as age 10. It is also used to manage irritability in children with autism spectrum disorder. The drug is used off-label to treat Tourette syndrome, and anxiety and eating disorders.
Zyprexa, also approved to treat acute manic episodes of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in children as young as age 10, is also used off-label to treat anxiety and eating disorders, depression and Tourette syndrome. One of the most common side effects noted in the drug has been serious weight gain.
We should not accept that the only way to reach a child or restrain a child is through psychotropic drugs. Doctors, even when employed by MCFD should be super-vigilant about the rush to prescribe drugs to children and youth. Michel Jackson’s doctor is gone for a couple of years. Criminal charges are possible and lawsuits are viable in British Columbia as well as California. But far beyond the peril of legal action, we shouldn’t accept drugging of children as the optimum behavioural remedy when there are other compassionate and humane ways to do this that cost the investment of personal time and effort and love.