The Denver Post
PRESCRIPTION KIDS: Read the Denver Post special report on use of psychotropic drugs in the Colorado foster care system.
A medical director would oversee the levels of mind-altering psychotropic drugs prescribed to children and teenagers in Colorado's foster care system and at the Division of Youth Corrections under a budget request submitted this week.
For the first time, the state child welfare department wants to hire a staff of medical professionals — headed by a physician — to monitor prescription medication use in youth corrections and the child welfare system, as well as other health issues. Officials have asked the legislature's Joint Budget Committee for $700,000 to hire a contracted doctor and four staff members, including two nurses.
Colorado is one of only 10 states without a medical director overseeing the foster care system.
Rising numbers of foster children nationwide are prescribed potent psychotropic medications because of behavioral problems, anxiety and depression, often brought on by trauma in their lives. Child advocates have called for fewer drugs and more therapy to treat the root cause of the children's behavioral problems.
Critics say that few studies have examined side effects on children and that heavy doses make kids seem detached and sedated.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
The Denver Post