4/29/2001 – NY-CITY AGENCY'S PSYCH DRUGS IMPERIL FOSTER KIDS

About three years ago the Seattle Times or the Seattle PI did a series of
articles on the drugging of foster children and the number of deaths as a
result of that deadly practice. Now the New York Post has given us another
article detailing the same problem in the East. Several years ago I learned
that we too have the problem here in the Rocky Mountain area.

My children are adopted and they have always wanted a younger brother or
sister. We looked for several years for a child we could make a part of our
family. We were not able to find one available that was not being drugged for
a variety of reasons. I asked an agency if they had any children available
who were not on drugs, explaining that drug withdrawal is not where I would
want to begin a relationship with a child.

The woman at the agency lowered her voice and said, “Isn’t it horrible?! We
have a doctor in charge here who is drugging all of these children and there
is nothing we can do about it!”

In my opinion, to do this to the most helpless among us – a child alone with
no family to protect them from the drugging – is the most damning statement
against our society there is.

In the news this past weekend we all heard about tragic death of an adopted
child, little Candace Newmaker, who died during a controversial “rebirthing”
therapy in Colorado. She was being given this “treatment” for the diagnosis
of “attachment disorder.” As you read about her death you learn that the
expert witness in this case could not say if it was the therapy that caused
her death or the drugs – Rispirdol being taken at her death AFTER a long
period of treatment with antidepressants. Because the increase in serotonin
shuts off the bronchial tubes it can produce death by asphyxiation – the
cause of death in Candace’s case. We also know that when the serotonin is
increased to too high a level by these drugs it leads to Serotonin Syndrome
which includes multiple organ failure.

Now I invite you into Candace’s drug-induced world – the same world which you
will see was obviously what produced the symptoms that led her and her
desperate adoptive mother into this controversial therapy. As you read the
list of symptoms of increased serotonin and decreased serotonin metabolism in
the document on our site called The Aftermath
(http://drugawareness.org/Archives/Miscellaneous/MRAfter.html) you will see
everyone of the side effects Candace was having that left her mother reeling
from the experience.

Excerpts from the Denver Rocky Mountain News:

* When the local social services workers contacted her with information
about Candace, she was told the girl had a “strong temperment,” that she was
prone to uncontrollable outbursts. Candace had been through six foster homes
by the time she was five, and her birth family had neglected her, Newmaker
was told.

* One night in the spring of 1999, Newmaker woke at 2:30 a.m. and smelled
smoke, she said. She ran down the hall to Candace’s room, but it was empty.
She opened the next door to the guest room and found her daughter.

* “She was sitting on the bed in the guest room with spent matches all
around her,” Newmaker said, crying. “I’m so frightened for her. She could
have hurt herself, killed herself.”

* Speaking publicly for the first time about Candace’s death during that
therapy, Jeane Newmaker said her daughter’s psychological problems were so
advanced that she started a fire in their home, once sexually assaulted two
children, and would fly into hourlong rages.

* “I thought she was deteriorating before my very eyes,” Newmaker said. “I
was not prepared for the level of dysfunction I saw in Candace.”

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org

http://www.nypost.com/commentary/28629.htm

CITY AGENCY’S PSYCH DRUGS IMPERIL FOSTER KIDS

By DOUGLAS MONTERO
——————————————————————————

MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE:
Erline Kidd, with sons Devon (left) and Von, is fighting to stop the city
from medicating her little girl, who’s in foster care. “My daughter is like a
zombie,” she says.
– Yechiam Gal

April 16, 2001 — ERLINE KIDD doesn’t want her 8-year-old daughter to end up
like a boy named Cecil Reed – a corpse at the city morgue.
Kidd fears for the life of her daughter Shaevonnah – “Shae” – because she’s
in the custody of the city’s Administration for Children’s Services – just
like Cecil was.

And just like Cecil, ACS is allowing doctors to give Shae a cocktail of
psychiatric medications that Kidd feels is harming her baby.

Kidd’s objections are being ignored, just like those of Cecil’s father, who
stopped complaining April 7, 2000, when his 16-year-old son suffered a heart
attack triggered by a combination of four drugs, and died.

“I was begging them to stop,” said Cecil Reed Jr., a city worker who lives in
The Bronx.

“Jesus,” said Dr. Peter Breggin, an author and critic of psychiatric
treatment of children. “They were treating him like you would treat a raving
psychotic.”

ACS says it doesn’t know how many of its 31,000 children are on psychiatric
medication, but advocacy groups say complaints from parents arrive at their
offices on a “regular basis.”

A state audit of 401 randomly selected kids last year found that more than
half were being treated for mental problems – and that most likely means
medication.

Some advocates charge the foster-care agencies contracted to care for nearly
90 percent of ACS’s children use medication to “control” the emotionally
troubled kids.

Parents like those of Tariq Mohammad, 16, face medical-neglect charges in
Family Court if they object too vigorously.

Tariq was on medication for schizophrenia, an illness he says he never had,
and its side effects made him violently ill. The family sued ACS in civil
court and won after a court-appointed psychiatrist determined Tariq didn’t
need any medication.

“I am outraged, not just for me, but for many kids that are being medicated,”
Tariq said. “It really screwed me up. I guess they do it because they don’t
want to deal with us.”

Tariq, who lived in the foster system since he was 11, says his pleas for an
alternative treatment were summarily ignored.

The ACS says parents are entitled to get a second medical opinion or hire a
lawyer to fight the case in court.

The mad rush to medicate, a nationwide phenomenon, is especially delicate
with foster kids. The ACS relies on the judgment of doctors subcontracted by
its 60 foster agencies to evaluate and treat children, agency spokeswoman
Jennifer Faulk said.

The ACS is supposed to monitor the treatment, but overworked caseworkers
can’t – or don’t – micromanage each kid, so they defer to doctors.

Hank Orenstein, the director of the advocacy agency C-Plan, said the ACS
exhibits a “naivete” in mental-health services.

“It’s a relief to have other professions make the decision but as you can see
some children are not always best served with medication,” said Orenstein,
whose group is part of Public Advocate Mark Green’s office.

Parents end up becoming helpless watchdogs handcuffed by bureaucracy and
poverty.

“I hated it,” said Cecil Reed’s father, a Baptist church deacon, describing
the slow medication death of his son at the Bronx Children’s Psychiatric
Center.

Reed began noticing a problem with Cecil’s treatment three years before his
son died. Reed, who was threatened with medical-neglect charges, said Cecil
was “sleepwalking” after the hospital began serving the boy cocktails.

Doctors said Cecil had schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress
disorder but his father claims his son wasn’t insane, just a strong-willed
kid who like any youngster would lash out after being separated from family
and friends.

“Daddy, I don’t want to take medicine anymore . . . They are just using me as
a guinea pig,” Reed remembers his son saying.

When the usually cooperative Reed questioned the medication in late 1999, the
hospital simply got consent from the ACS behind the father’s back, he
charged. Faulk didn’t respond to the allegation.

He learned about the deadly cocktail the day after his son died.

The autopsy report notes Cecil’s body contained “potentially toxic” levels of
pindolol, a heart-damaging drug never tested or recommended for children.

Breggin said serving these cocktails to children is “so dangerous and
experimental that it wouldn’t be permitted under any legitimate rule of
research.”

The ACS, the state’s Office of Children and Family Services and the state
Office of Mental Health, which runs the Bronx facility where Cecil died,
refused to comment because the family plans to sue.

Erline Kidd’s face sunk when she was told about Cecil. Kidd charged she
always learns about the drug cocktails her daughter gets after the fact. All
contact with her daughter’s doctor is arranged by the ACS.

Kidd, a reformed cocaine addict, is fighting two wars: to get her daughter
back from the ACS, like she did with her two sons, ages 12 and 9, in January,
and to stop the drugging of the girl.

Little Shae is on Seroquel and Thorazine for psychosis, and four other drugs.

“I just know it’s too much – my daughter is like a zombie,” the mother said.
“One time I saw her and I wanted to grab her and run.”

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