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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Psychotropic Drug Use in Foster Care System Under Investigation

Psychotropic Drug Use in Foster Care System Under Investigation

The US Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management has asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the prevalence of prescribed psychotropic medications for children in foster care. The estimated cost of prescribed medications, often used in the treatment of emotional and behavioural problems, may run to hundreds of millions of dollars each year in the United States alone. To date, only limited reports are available to determine the actual prevalence of psychotropic medication in foster children. Experts suggest that foster children are four times more likely to be prescribed antipsychotic or antidepressant medication than other children covered under Medicaid. One 2003 study of foster children in Florida indicated that 55 percent of children in the foster care system are being administered psychotropic medication although forty percent of those medicated had no history of a psychiatric evaluation.. Another study has indicated that anti-psychotic medication used has increased 528 from 2000 to 2005. A Texas study from 2004 showed that 34.7 percent of foster children were prescribed at least one psychotropic drug with some children taking five or more.

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