Foster boy’s suicide offers lessons

Miami Herald

Editorial
Foster boy’s suicide offers lessons

OUR OPINION: DCF must make sure there are no more suicidal 7-year-olds
The short, tragic life and death of Gabriel Myers will not be completely in vain if the state finally adapts its treatment of mentally troubled foster children to emphasize therapy, not psychotropic drugs.

Gabriel was a 7-year-old foster child in Margate whose world, never very secure to begin with, was splintering into fragments when he hung himself April 16. Gabriel was not a perfect child. He had anger issues. He displayed inappropriate sexual behavior that may have stemmed from his own molestation earlier in Ohio.

Gabriel entered Broward County’s foster-care system in June 2008 when his mother was found passed out in her drug-filled car in a parking lot. Once in foster care, Gabriel was medicated with an adult anti-depressant and received therapy. In the last few weeks of his life he was moved from two foster homes, given a new psychotropic medication, learned that his mother would be sent to jail in Ohio and came up against a foster father turning more punitive in his punishment of the boy.

Department has been candid

His death rocked the Department of Children & Families and Broward’s foster-care system. DCF Secretary George Sheldon has made sure the department is candid and open about its role in Gabriel’s life and death, a welcome change from prior administrations. Gabriel was one of hundreds of foster kids on psychotropic drugs. Mr. Sheldon appointed a task force to look into his death and drug use on foster children.

The group’s findings show that child-welfare doctors and case workers don’t always follow the rules on drugging kids in state care. In Gabriel’s case, his social worker needed to get either his parent’s or a judge’s approval to use the psychiatric drug. That wasn’t done. His therapist may have overemphasized treating the sexual behavior and overlooked his depression. Everyone dealing with the boy treated him more as a case study than as a forlorn, frightened 7-year-old who needed a parent’s love and protection.

There are solutions

Other findings that must be addressed: Caregivers aren’t adequately monitoring the potentially dangerous side effects of the psychotropic drugs on children; psychiatrists and pediatricians often lack medical histories for the children they treat, yet still prescribe drugs; mental healthcare for foster children is fragmented and poorly funded (this should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Florida’s dismal social service record); finally, and this one really needs to be heeded, DCF has failed to implement recommendations from previous reports on use of psychiatric drugs.

To continue these dreadful practices is to put the state’s foster children in more peril than ever.

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One response to “Foster boy’s suicide offers lessons

  1. Drugging Defenseless Foster Children for Profit
    By Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD
    Author: THE ADHD FRAUD: How Psychiatry Make ‘Patients’ of Normal Children
    http://www.Trafford.com (850 words, 6/23/09)
    Foster children are not a sick population or a medical population. Nor are they an epidemic! The pain they suffer stems from abandonment and abuse and can only be stopped by stopping the abuse and by matching them in life with one or more human beings who will care for, value, and love them—things that cannot be bought. Only then will their anger, depression, and anxieties be eradicated. No psychiatric pill is justified or appropriate.
    Health Canada, on November 10, 2008 and the US-FDA on March 12, 2009, confessed that “For mental/psychiatric disorders in general, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and ADHD, there are no confirmatory gross, microscopic or chemical abnormalities that have been validated for objective physical diagnosis.” Psychiatry’s sham bio-medical literature, commencing with the invention of hyperkinetic disorder (HKD) in 1970, must no longer be used to justify the labeling and poisoning of normals.
    Show me one psychiatric disorder or diagnosis that is an actual disease, having, as it must, a gross abnormality (a visible birthmark or a lump or mass) a microscopic abnormality (such as cancer cells from a ‘Pap’ smear or a surgical biopsy) or a chemical abnormality (such as high blood sugar in diabetes of phenylalanine in phenylketonuria—one of over a hundred real, genetically-caused, ‘chemical imbalances’ of the brain and body).
    Those whose only diagnoses are psychiatric/psychological are medically, physically, normal when diagnosed. Their first and only ‘disease,’ verifiable by chemical assay of blood, urine or any body fluid or organ, is the intoxication/poisoning that follows, which, throughout psychiatry is called ‘treatment’. Show me one of their drugs that is not merely a poison which acts by damaging, crippling and anesthetizing the brain.
    Who invited psychiatrists and other ‘pushers’ of psychiatric drugs into the foster care arena? They appear when paged whenever a new ward of the court, a new foster conscript, is admitted. Often they never see the patient but scribble down a list of subjective symptoms and then the mandatory, drug-justifying ‘disease’ labels, such as ADHD and bipolar disorder, much as in two and a half year old Rebecca Riley, who died at four, not from her ‘disorders’/ ‘diseases’ but from the poisons used to ‘treat’ them: Adderall, a mix of amphetamine salts, and Seroquel, an antipsychotic capable of causing a textbook full of adverse brain and body effects–sudden cardiac death, among them. But this is what child psychiatrists do. Medicine is the art and science of the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This does not apply to psychiatry.
    In 2002, Stubbe, et al, in a survey of child and adolescent psychiatrists found that 61% of patients were provided psychopharmacology/drug assessment and treatment and no other treatment such as psychotherapy while thirty percent of all patients were treated with psychotherapy plus medication. Only 9 percent received psychotherapy alone. Here we have it: 91%, 90 percent of them neurologically normal, given a drug or drugs. Is this not the definition of ‘pusher’?
    Even officials from the Florida’s Department of Children & Families admit they use drugs to often to manage troubled children. When did being “troubled” become a disease?
    Nor do all the previous failures of the birth parents justify such drugging. If physically and medically normal the children are capable not only of learning and achieving self control, but of literacy, and gaining an education—even a college education. But not when drugged out of their minds, not with dose-related or fixed, permanent and worsening mind-brain damage.
    Do physicians who prescribe 1, 5, 10 or 15 psychiatric drugs for normal children merely fail a test of professional ethics? What should we call it when a physicians trained to know normal from abnormal–disease-free from diseased, restrains a normal child with psychiatric drugs, knowingly damaging their brain and body putting them at risk of permanent disability and death. This is above and beyond ethics, it is immoral? It is assault and battery—criminal! It is long past time to acknowledge this and to move accordingly against those who profit by victimizing this medically normal population.
    Saying physicians have a legal and ethical duty to obtain informed consent before psychiatric medication is prescribed suggests that psychiatric diagnoses are actual diseases/abnormalities, made normal by psychiatric drugs when none are. Instead, every such diagnosis asks the normal patient their family to believe they are diseased, disordered chemically imbalanced for no purpose other than to make a patient of them—a patient to diagnose, treat and from whom to profit.
    As healthcare reform is debated around the country, psychiatric diagnosis and treatment must be exposed for the contrivance and fraud it is and must be expunged. So doing we would immediately free up hundreds of billions of dollars for real, legitimate, now-unmet healthcare needs while removing millions of normal human beings, including virtually all in foster care, from harms way and into non-drugging systems of treatment and care that stand a vastly greater chance of making them into healthy productive citizens, not doomed to lives of drugs and psychiatrically pre-ordained, lifetime disability, but, instead, prepared to take there place in society as normal, healthy, whole, productive citizens they have the potential to become.

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