Defying the Odds

California’s foster care prescribers fuel the medication of vulnerable kids with antipsychotics

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Former foster child Tisha Ortiz’s testimony before the state legislature has helped propel legislation that would monitor doctors for inappropriate prescribing of psychiatric drugs.

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Southern California Group’s sister publications in the San Francisco Bay Area produced this report, the latest installment in their series investigating doctors’ use of powerful anti-psychotic drugs to control the behavior of the state’s foster children.

For years, few questioned how doctors treated the emotional trauma of California’s abused and neglected children — and nobody monitored how often they handed out psychiatric drugs that can turn fragile childhoods into battles with obesity and bouts of stupor.

Now, a Digital First Media investigation into the prescribing habits of the state’s foster care doctors reveals for the first time how a fraction of doctors has been fueling the rampant medicating of California’s most vulnerable kids.

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A mere 10 percent of the state’s highest prescribers were responsible about 50 percent of the time when a foster child received an antipsychotic, the riskiest class of psychiatric drugs with some of the most harmful side effects. The startling numbers are revealed as part of a new analysis of Medi-Cal pharmacy data, which the news organization obtained through a public records request.

These same doctors often relied on risky, unproven combinations of the drugs, a practice widely rejected by medical associations and other states

Full Story here Daily News

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