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Why Are Children Prescribed Too Many Psychotropic Drugs?

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Health Issues Page and our Appetite For a Change Page.

There is big money to be made in prescribing medications to kids - especially when those medications are intended to be taken for life, as many psychotropic drugs are.

These drugs, which include stimulants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers, carry the risk of serious side effects, including, ironically, psychotic symptoms (like hearing voices or paranoia), aggressive behavior, hostility, seizures, heart attack, delayed puberty, and more.

Oftentimes the side effects are far worse than the conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for which they're prescribed, and rival illegal street drugs in terms of their dangerous risks to health.

In children, the long-term effects are often largely unknown, while in the short term, we've seen shocking increases in violent and aggressive acts committed by teens taking one or more psychotropic drugs.

The number of prescriptions for psychotropic drugs for US children more than doubled between 1995 and 2000, but a new investigation by the Denver Post revealed that foster children are prescribed such drugs at a rate 12 times higher than other children on Medicaid.1

This isn't a mistake  the high rates of psychotropic drug use among foster children and poor children is likely a direct result of drug company tactics that targeted doctors in the Medicaid program, influencing them to prescribe more drugs to these kids.     

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