ANTIDEPRESSANT: 14 Year Old Girl Kills 3 Year Old: Canada

Paragraph 15 reads:  “But fetal alcohol syndrome,
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, disruptive, hostile and threatening
behaviour ­ behaviour that escalated before her period and required
anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication to quell ­
and functioning at the level of a child half the girl‘s age didn’t faze

Inquest opens into boy’s killing

Posted By TIFFANY MAYER Standard Staff

The three-yearold boy signed the word across the dinner table to the daughter of
his Welland foster mom.

He did it to show he understood the young
woman’s message to him ­ also said with sign language to quiet the talkative
tot ­ that the 14yearold girl joining them at the table, who arrived that
mid-December day in 2005 to stay with them, was a friend.

The next
morning, foster mom Margaret Hamilton found the gregarious boy lying on his
bedroom floor, cold and grey.

He had been smothered by his friend, a
Crown ward in the care of Family and Children’s Services Niagara, who confessed
her crime in a note left near the boy’s body and calmly brushed her freshly
washed hair in her bedroom as Hamilton and her daughter frantically called for

The girl, who cannot be identified, was given a seven-year

sentence in November 2007 for second-degree murder.

On Monday, during
the first day of a coroner’s inquest that will examine the events surrounding
the tragedy, Hamilton relived the events leading to the Dec. 15, 2005 death of
the boy, who was in the care of the Haldimand-Norfolk Children’s Aid Society.

Due to a publication ban, the boy can’t be named.

The inquest,
presided over by Dr. James Edwards, is being held at the Quality Hotel Parkway
Convention Centre on Ontario Street. It is expected to take three weeks.

A five-person jury will hear from about 30 witnesses, including police,
a forensic pathologist, social workers, educators who worked with the girl,
foster families and, possibly, the perpetrator herself.

At the end of
the proceedings, the jury can choose to make recommendations that can be used to
prevent similar deaths in the future.

The circumstances surrounding the death “cry out for some kind of
examination,” coroner counsel Eric Siebenmorgen said.

As she answered
Siebenmorgen’s questions, Hamilton talked about the notes she took when she got
the call that FACS Niagara would like to make use of a bed in her Welland home.
It was a bed that she decided to reserve for the agency after moving to Niagara
from neighbouring Haldimand County a year earlier.

She had been a foster
parent with Haldimand-Norfolk CAS for more than four years when the 14yearold

girl, who had recently been raped and was arrested for stealing a van, would be
coming to stay with her.

The list of issues plaguing the teen was long
and troublesome to anyone unfamiliar with caring for foster children,
Siebenmorgen noted.

But fetal alcohol syndrome, attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder, disruptive, hostile and threatening behaviour ­
behaviour that escalated before her period and required anti-depressant and
anti-anxiety medication to quell ­ and functioning at the level of a child
half the girl‘s age didn’t faze Hamilton.

“I fostered a lot of teenage
girls, a lot of runners, and almost always seemed to have good rapport with
them,” she said.

What she did question, though, was how the girl was
with young children, Hamilton told the inquest.

The boy, who had
recently been returned to Hamilton’s home after time with his biological mother,
had been roughed up by an eight-yearold girl who had stayed briefly with
Hamilton a couple weeks earlier.

“I wanted him to get settled and feel
comfortable,” Hamilton said. “I didn’t want anything upsetting him …. The
response to that was, ‘No, she likes little kids.’ ”

But looking back,
as Siebenmorgen asked her to do, Hamilton said she felt the half-hour that the

girl‘s caseworker spent at her home when dropping off the teen seemed short and

That evening, as dinner was eaten, TV was watched and everyone
called it a night, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, until she went to rouse
the boy the next morning and get him ready for a pre-school Christmas party.

In hindsight, Hamilton said she would have liked to have seen some of
the notes in the girl‘s file with FACS, written between 2000 and 2003, before
agreeing to accept her. The teen was the first foster child from FACS Niagara
that Hamilton welcomed into her home.

Two incidents in particular
concerned Hamilton: a report of the girl allegedly putting another child’s head
through a window and another accusation of her pushing a child down stairs.

“I believe if I had those notes, I wouldn’t have chosen to have someone
with that background in the home, just because there was a small child in my
home,” Hamilton said.

The inquest continues Tuesday with
cross-examination by counsel for the boy’s biological family.
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4/9/2001 – Back-to-back documentaries tonight and tomorrow.

Back-to-back documentaries on children and psychotropic
medications, tonight and tomorrow night, on A&E and PBS.
Here’s a review from the NEW YORK TIMES.


April 9, 2001

Television Review: Ifs, Ands or Buts of Drugs for Restless U.S.


By pure coincidence, two documentaries on two different
channels are arriving back to back tonight and tomorrow to
examine the same issue: the widening and sometimes
harrowing use of psychoactive drugs in America to modify
children’s behavior. Suffice it to say that the programs ˜ the first
on A&E, the other on PBS ˜ are in many ways redundant.

They even largely look alike: both of these well-made
presentations are structured around intimate portraits of people
caught up in this anguishing phenomenon.

Thus, over two nights, we encounter seven boys and girls, some
illustrating the drugs’ benefits, others telling of depression,
malnourishment, even psychosis after being put on
medications. We’re also introduced to Adderall, Zoloft,
Wellbutrin, Cylert, Dexedrine and, most prevalent of all, Ritalin ˜
drugs administered to help troubled children sit still in school,
concentrate, get along with others (including the teacher) and
have fruitful lives.

Given the programs’ similarities, the obvious question is, which
is the one to watch: “Generation Rx: Reading, Writing and
Ritalin,” one of Bill Kurtis’s “Investigative Reports,” to be shown
on A&E tonight, or “Medicating Kids,” a Frontline special
appearing on PBS tomorrow?

The answer is not so cut and dried. Both hourlong
documentaries are serious, sometimes startling contributions to
an important discussion over the increasing ˜ and some say
spurious ˜ diagnosis of attention deficit disorder and attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder in children (up to four million cases,
by one estimate). And for all the parallels, each program
contains an angle or two that the other doesn’t.

The A&E program, for instance, looks at the alternative of
long-term drug-free behavior therapy. The Frontline
documentary, more aggressively, suggests that drug
manufacturers and certain pliable doctors may have entered into
unholy alliances to promote the use of the drugs among

What’s more, watching both programs affords an illuminating
opportunity to see how two of the lamentably few investigative
bodies still standing in television journalism can differ so
markedly in tone even when plowing the same ground.

The Kurtis production wastes no time in establishing a darkly
dramatic approach, not to mention tipping its hand to its
sympathies. “It’s scary: we’re polluting our best resource,” says
an anonymous, unchallenged voice in the opening. “Putting our
kids on these drugs when they really don’t need it.” Mr. Kurtis, the
host, asserts that use of the drugs may challenge “the very
essence of childhood itself.”

Frontline takes a more measured tack, which ultimately gives it
the edge, declaring at the outset its more open-minded
intentions: “We wanted to know why kids are being prescribed
these drugs and whether or not they help.”
All sides get a fair hearing in both reports: those who say the
drugs have rescued many children from calamitous lives, and
those who say the drugs have been wildly overprescribed,
leading in one case, recalled on Frontline, to a 12-year-old boy’s
classroom suicide attempt using a pencil.

Both presentations also acknowledge that it is too early to know
the drugs’ long-term effects. But only Frontline seems willing to
end on an honestly inconclusive note. On A&E, Mr. Kurtis can’t
resist a loaded sign- off about Einstein and the scientist’s own
apparent attention deficit as a child. Where might we be, Mr.
Kurtis seems to ask, if the father of relativity had been a child of

1/9/2000 – The Legal Drugging Of America

The Legal Drugging Of America

Here is a recent article from Arianna Huffington. – Mark M.

The Legal Drugging Of America: A Status Report
Filed December 23, 1999
by Arianna Huffington

Two reports out this month highlight the continuing trend toward the
legal drugging of America.

The Surgeon General’s report on the state of the nation’s mental health
found that 22 percent of the population has a diagnosable mental
disorder.” At the same time, a study by the National Institute of
Mental Health concluded that we are under-medicating our children and
that for those diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder,
drugs — specifically Ritalin — are more effective than therapy.

The big drugmakers will no doubt use these studies as additional
weapons in their ongoing war to make mood-altering drugs the solution
to all life’s problems. Our magazines are already stuffed with ads
portraying pharmaceutical giants as noble enterprises, engaged in
nothing but the pursuit of pure science and the public good. And our
television screens are filled with commercials for drugs to cure
shyness and so-called “social phobias.”

The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved Effexor XR, a
drug for “generalized anxiety disorder” — the garden-variety
free-floating anxiety that has plagued humanity since the expulsion
from Eden. Mark Twain summed it up this way: “I am an old man, and
have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

These days, the assumption seems to be that drugs can take care of
everything unpleasant in the human condition. “At Pfizer,” one ad
boasts, “we look to the future with the knowledge that the only thing
incurable is our passion.” What the ad doesn’t mention is that drug
company profits (Pfizer’s last year were $3.35 billion) are often spent
not on finding cures for serious diseases but for “lifestyle”
maladies — baldness, toenail fungus, and of course any interruption to
a perpetually sunny mood. Not one major drug company in the United
States has an in-house research program on malaria, for example, but
sales of pharmaceutical drugs for pets are approaching $1 billion

The major flaw of the Surgeon General’s report is the lumping together
of dramatically disparate conditions. According to Surgeon General
David Satcher himself, “tragic and devastating disorders such a
schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease,
the mental and behavioral disorders suffered by children, and a range
of other mental disorders affect nearly one in five Americans in any
year.” This is a classic example of pseudo-scientific sleight of hand:
linking schizophrenia to childhood behavioral problems as though they
are in any meaningful sense on the same continuum.
It is this mind-set that has led to the Ritalin epidemic — with the
number of kids taking the powerful drug skyrocketing from 1 million in
1990 to 4 million today. And now along comes a study that says the
answer to those many instances where Ritalin has proved ineffective is
to simply up the dosage. As Dr. Peter Jensen from the National
Institute of Mental Health put it, “You find the dose that achieves
the absolute possible total benefit for this child … That’s the dose
you want, not the lowest possible dose that you can get by on.” It’s
ingenius, if Ritalin isn’t working, try more Ritalin. As they used to
say in the ’60s, “Why do you think they call it dope?”

It’s doubly tragic that these reports have arrived at a time when we’re
facing a crisis in managed health care. Because a diagnosis of a mental
disorder will almost always prompt managed care companies to take the
cheap way out — drugs rather than therapy, no matter how potentially
dangerous the long-term side effects, especially on children’s growing

Making this growing emphasis on drugs especially troubling is the
conclusion by federal investigators that the FDA has “no quality
control system” to track adverse drug reactions. Currently, doctors
and hospitals are not even legally required to report patients’ drug
side effects to the FDA. As a result, in one year, from the beginning
of June 1997 to the end of May 1998, the agency got only 13,825 such
reports even though in hospitals alone approximately 180,000 patients
die every year from drug reactions.

Even if the FDA moves from a voluntary to a mandatory reporting system,
the agency has only 80 employees to monitor more than 3,000
prescription drugs. Over the past year and a half, the agency has
banned only five drugs that it previously had approved but now deems
dangerous. But every year 2 million Americans are hospitalized due to
drug side effects.

“Most errors are not caused by stupidity, incompetence or neglect, but
by system failures that allow them to occur,” said David Lawrence,
head of Kaiser Permanente, suggesting that the safety tests done by
drug companies are not enough, and that the companies fail to educate
physicians and hospital workers on the proper administration of their

As drugs, and the conditions treatable by drugs multiply, can we
continue to tolerate such slipshod oversight of a powerful industry
that so affects our lives — and our deaths? Or continue to rely on
reports tainted by the drug industry’s assumption that millions of
Americans are suffering from mental disorders whose cure is just a pill
pop away? Oh, the infinite possibilities of an America where everyone
has finally admitted to a mental disorder, and everyone is blissed-out
on appropriately high doses of the newest wonder drugs.

12/02/1999 – Boys Will Be Boys

We shout a public “WELL DONE AND THANK YOU!!!!” to George Will and the
Washington Post for their encouraging article on the Colorado School
Board Resolution. Ann Blake-Tracy who was one of three invited to present
documentation to the school board on the damage caused by these drugs
will be doing a radio show this Saturday on this issue. She will be
joined by Patti Johnson, the Colorado School Board member who
introduced the resolution. The interview will be with Phyllis Schlafly,
national head of the Eagle Forum ( at 11:30 AM
Central Time. For a station near you that may carry the show check
their web site or the site or

Boys Will Be Boys
Or you can just drug them.
By George F. Will
Thursday, December 2, 1999; Page A39

A reaction is underway against drugging children because they are
behaving like children, especially boy children. Colorado’s elected
school board recently voted to discourage what looks like drug abuse in
the service of an ideological agenda. The board urged teachers and
other school personnel to be more restrained about recommending drugs
such as Ritalin for behavior modification of children, and to rely more
on discipline and instruction.

One reason for the vote is that some school violence has been committed
by students taking psychotropic drugs. But even absent a causal
connection between the drugs and violence, there are sound reasons to
recoil from the promiscuous drugging of children.

Consider the supposed epidemic of attention deficit/hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD) that by 1996 had U.S. youngsters consuming 90percent of
the world’s Ritalin. Boys, no parent of one will be surprised to learn,
are much more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD. In1996, 10
percent to 12 percent of all American schoolboys were taking the
addictive Ritalin. (After attending classes on the dangers of drugs?)

One theory holds that ADHD is epidemic because of the modern
acceleration of life–the environmental blitzkrieg of MTV, video games,
e-mail, cell phones, etc. But the magazine Lingua Franca reports that
Ken Jacobson, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of
Massachusetts, conducted a cross-cultural study of ADHD that included
observation of two groups of English school children, one diagnosed
with ADHD, the other not. He observed them with reference to 35
behaviors (e.g., “giggling,” “squirming,” “blurting out”) and found no
significant differences between the groups.

Children, he says, tend to talk, fidget and fool around–“all the
classical ADHD-type behaviors. If you’re predisposed to label any child
as ADHD, the distracted troublemaker or the model student, you’ll find
a way to observe these behaviors.” So what might explain such a
predisposition? Paul R. McHugh, professor of psychiatry at Johns
Hopkins, writing in Commentary, argues that ADHD, “social phobia”
(usual symptom: fear of public speaking) and other disorders certified
by the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders” are proliferating rapidly. This is because
of a growing tendency to regard as mental problems many characteristics
that are really aspects of individuality.

So pharmacology is employed to relieve burdensome aspects of
temperament. “Psychiatric conditions,” says McHugh, “are routinely
differentiated by appearances alone,” even when it is “difficult to
distinguish symptoms of illness from normal variations in human life,”
or from the normal responses of sensitive people to life’s challenges.
But if a condition can be described, it can be named; once named, a
distinct disorder can be linked to a particular treatment. McHugh says
some experts who certify new disorders “receive extravagant annual
retainers from pharmaceutical companies that profit from the promotion
of disorders treatable by the companies’ medications.”

The idea that most individuals deficient inattentiveness or confidence
are sick encourages what McHugh calls pharmacological “mental
cosmetics.” This “should be offensive to anyone who values the richness
of human psychological diversity. Both medically and morally,
encumbering this naturally occurring diversity with the terminology of
disease is a first step toward efforts, however camouflaged, to control
it.” Clearly some children need Ritalin. However, Ken Livingston, of
Vassar’s department of psychology, writing in the Public Interest, says
Ritalin is sometimes used as a diagnostic tool–if it improves a
child’s attention, ADHD is assumed.

But Ritalin, like other stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine,
improves almost everyone’s attention. And Ritalin is a ready resource
for teachers who blur the distinction between education and therapy.
One alternative to Ritalin might be school choice–parents finding
schools suited to their children’s temperaments. But, says Livingston,
when it is difficult to change the institutional environment, “we don’t
think twice about changing the brain of the person who has to live in
it.” This is an age that tries to medicalize every difficulty or
defect. Gwen Broude, also of Vassar, believes that the rambunctiousness
of boys is treated as a mental disorder by people eager to interpret
sex differences as personal deficiencies.

Danielle Crittenden of the Independent Women’s Forum sees the “anti-boy
lobby” behind handwringing about the supposed dangers of reading the
Harry Potter novels, which feature wizardry, witchcraft and other
really neat stuff. The androgyny agenda of progressive thinkers has
reduced children’s literature to bland gruel because, Crittenden says,
there is “zero tolerance for male adventurousness.” The Potter books
recall those traditional boys’ books that satisfied boys’ zeal for
strife and Adventure. Today, Crittenden says, that zeal causes
therapists–they are everywhere–to reach for Ritalin. Harry is brave,
good and constantly battling evil. He should point his broomstick
toward Colorado, where perhaps boys can be boys.

Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company



Diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Use of
Psychotropic Medication in Very Young Children

Marsha D. Rappley, MD; Patricia B. Mullan, PhD; Francisco J. Alvarez;
Ihouma U. Eneli, MD; Jenny Wang, PhD; Joseph C. Gardiner, PhD


Children aged 3 years or younger had ADHD diagnosed and received
markedly variable psychotropic medication regimens. Little information
is available to guide these practices. The presence of comorbid
conditions and injuries attests to these children’s vulnerability.
Resources must be identified that will enable physicians to better
respond to the compelling needs of these children and their families.

Editor’s Note: The authors point out a pressing need to define better
diagnostic criteria and effective treatment in very young children.
There seems to be a real deficit in attention to this
problem.—Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD