In a special report on the California foster care system, the San Jose Mercury News says foster and health care providers turn “with alarming frequency” to a risky but convenient remedy to control the behavior of thousands of troubled kids: numbing them with psychiatric drugs that are untested on and often not approved for children. Nearly one out of every four 4 adolescents in California's foster care system is receiving these drugs — three times the rate for all adolescents nationwide.
Over the past decade, almost 15 percent of the state's foster children of all ages were prescribed the medications, known as psychotropics, part of a national treatment trend that is only beginning to receive broad scrutiny. “We're experimenting on our children,” said Los Angeles County Judge Michael Nash, who presides over the nation's largest juvenile court. A year of interviews with foster youth, caregivers, doctors, researchers and legal advocates uncovered how the largest foster care system in the U.S. has grown dependent on quick-fix, taxpayer-funded, big-profit pharmaceuticals — and how the state has done little to stop it.