Juvenile delinquency is a troubling phenomenon, made all the more challenging by the current trend to treat at risk kids with dangerous antipsychotic drugs.
In an article by John Kelly written for YouthToday , this alarming information was reported,
“A ground-breaking, year-long investigation by Youth Today has uncovered ample evidence that many youths incarcerated in American juvenile facilities are getting potent anti-psychotic drugs intended for bipolar or schizophrenic patients, even when they have not been diagnosed with either disorder.”
Mr. Kelly quotes Robert Jacobs, a former Florida psychologist who now practices in Australia,
“Fifty years ago, we were tying kids up with leather straps, but now that offends people, so instead we drug them. We cover it up with some justification that there is some medical reason, which there is not.”
Michael LaForgia of the Palm Beach Post has researched this trend in Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and reports,
“In some cases, the drugs are prescribed by contract doctors who have taken huge speaker fees and other gifts from makers of antipsychotic pills, companies that reap staggering profits selling medications. 1
“The medications have poured out at such a rate, said one former inmate, that even a confused teenager could tell that this wasn’t how things were supposed to be.”
In treating at risk juvenile delinquents, the pharmaceutical industry has discovered a gold mine.
Mr. LaForgia declares,
“In 2007, for example, DJJ bought more than twice as much Seroquel as ibuprofen. Overall, in 24 months, the department bought 326,081 tablets of Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal and other antipsychotic drugs for use in state-operated jails and homes for children.
“That’s enough to hand out 446 pills a day, seven days a week, for two years in a row, to kids in jails and programs that can hold no more than 2,300 boys and girls on a given day.”
What are the possible side effects of Seroquel for a young person? Mr. LaForgia states,
“The pills can cause suicidal thoughts in kids, as well as weight gain, high blood sugar, diabetes, heart problems and uncontrollable facial twitches and body tics, clinical trials have shown.”
One hopes the juvenile delinquent problem will be handled, not hidden by the use of debilitating psychiatric drugs.