Foster Youth and Drugs

The flaws with drugs in our foster system

Natalie Astrid

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Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

The issue of drugs in our foster system has been a long-standing problem that is still causing disastrous effects on the children that have come out of the foster program. Since 2014, California has been working to limit the prescribing and misdiagnosing of drugs for foster youth, and the number of prescribed antipsychotic drugs has fallen.

In the articles “Drugging our Kids” by Karen De Sa and “Drugging our Kids: Big drop in drugged foster kids in California” by John Woolfolk, both authors explore the experiences, laws, and statistics of the foster youth experience with prescription drugs and misdiagnosing. Showing the lack of care for the trauma foster youth experience and the effects over-drugging has on the kids once they leave the foster program.

Misdiagnosis of Foster Youth

Misdiagnosis is a massive problem in the foster system, with hundreds of foster children five and under prescribed psychotropics. Even though federal health officials say these drugs are unsafe for very young children, other states strongly discourage this practice. Additionally, in the last ten years in California, at least 275 young children, on average, have been prescribed medication. (De Sa, 2014). This statement asserts the severity of this practice and the danger it is putting so many young foster youths in. De Sa (2014) further stated that California had spent more than $226 million on psych meds for foster youth. Thus, California’s priority is supporting the pharmaceutical and drug companies rather than the foster child in their system.

Additionally, doctors are rewarded for participating in this practice by prescribing foster youth more drugs than necessary.

“12.2 percent of California foster children who received a psych drug in 2013 were prescribed two, three, four or more psychotropic medications at a time — up from 10.1 percent in 2004. These drug combinations often fall in the uncharted medical territory, with no scientific evidence that young brains aren’t being harmed.” (De Sa, 2014).

These statistics assert how much California, doctors, and the drug companies care about profit compared to helping foster youth.

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Natalie Astrid

Theatre and Film creator, Marriage and Family therapy student, and girl just trying her best.