Rate of Antipsychotics in Foster Care Climbs


One in six adolescents were taking antipsychotic medications by the end of a five-year study of 686,000 children in foster care in 48 states. Other psychoactive medication and the use of multiple simultaneous medications (“polypharmacy”) were declining by the end of the study. “We’re not saying these medications should never be used for children, but the high rate at which they’re used by children in foster care indicates that other interventions and supports, such as trauma-based counseling, may not be in place for them,” said one author.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. A customer victim speaks

    The saga of the so called *atypical antipsychotics* is one of incredible profit.Eli Lilly made $65 BILLION on Zyprexa franchise.
    Described as *the most successful drug in the history of neuroscience* the drugs at $12 pill are used by states to medicate deinstitutionalized mental patients to keep them out of the $500 day hospitals.
    There is a whole underclass block of our society,including children in foster care that are the market for these drugs,but have little voice of protest if harmed by them.I am an exception,I got diabetes from Zyprexa as an off-label treatment for PTSD and I am not a mentally challenged victim so I post.
    –Daniel Haszard

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    • John, I totally agree with you !! Thank you for validating my reality!! We can thank “Dr.” Joseph Bierderman largely for the latest psychiatric poison drug atrocities against children as with the ADHD scandal.

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  2. They are used in foster kids copiously for nothing more than irritating or aggressive behavior, without even the poor excuse of a diagnosis. I know, I work in the foster care system every day. Kids get the message that they should behave “normally” despite the horrific circumstances they grew up with and the known trauma of being placed in foster care, not to mention the possibility of further mistreatment while in care. Trauma-informed treatment is almost unavailable, and the therapists treating these kids are usually either interns or recent graduates with little experience. There is way too much comfort with drugging kids to get rid of what are pretty normal reactions to a pretty abnormal situation.

    I agree, these drugs should never be used in kids!

    — Steve

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