Big Pharma, big greed: Death by prescription

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    • #52137
      eridani
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      • Total Posts: 10,257

      Big Pharma, big greed: Death by prescription

      On April 16, 2009, seven-year-old Gabriel Myers locked himself in the bathroom of his suburban Florida foster home, coiled a detachable shower hose around his neck, and hung himself. A bright and charming little boy with close-cropped blond hair and brown eyes, Gabriel was acting out, his behavior having spiraled out of control over the previous year. The police investigation would reveal a tragedy nearly beyond belief: child service caseworkers were medicating him with adult doses of antipsychotic drugs, the negative side effects of which included an increased risk of suicide and violent behavior.

      Prescription drug therapy for young Gabriel hadn’t begun in Florida but back in Ohio, where he was living with his grandparents while his mother, Candace, was serving jail time. Gabriel, four years old at the time, had begun wetting his bed and acting out in the classroom. On the recommendation of a school therapist, he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and put on Adderall XR, an amphetamine that is popularly prescribed to children and teens to enhance concentration in the classroom. The drug may have temporarily masked the symptoms Gabriel was being treated for, but the root cause of his misbehavior wasn’t something chemical stimulants could remedy. It rarely is. Gabriel had repeatedly been molested at knifepoint by a 12-year-old schoolmate. An abuse report was filed two years after the sexual abuse occurred with no follow-up. By the time state authorities were made aware of Gabriel’s molestation, he was living with his mother in Florida.

      Gabriel came to the attention of police in 2008, when Broward County patrolmen found his mother, Candace, unconscious in her car parked behind a Denny’s restaurant. In the front seat beside her, they found powder and crack cocaine along with Xanax and Oxycodone in unmarked pharmaceutical containers. Gabriel, then age six, was in the backseat. The Florida Department of Children and Families took custody of Gabriel pending legal proceedings against his mother. Gabriel’s father, Rocky Newman, was serving time in a Florida prison and therefore unable to care for him. For the next 11 months, Gabriel would be a ward of the state.

      During his initial evaluation with child services, Gabriel was forthcoming about his mother’s drug addiction and the molestation he had suffered in Ohio. He was again diagnosed with ADHD and was this time placed on the next-generation amphetamine, Vyvanse. Though it was only approved for use by adults, Vyvanse could, like the vast majority of drugs used to treat ADD and ADHD, be prescribed to a child “off-label” with a physician’s approval. This allows doctors to prescribe the drug if they think it’s the best option for a patient even though the FDA has not approved the medication for a specific condition or a certain class of people, in this case children.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #52201
      jwirr
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,920

      Being medicated by child service caseworkers? Caseworkers oversee the care of clients – contract services from others. They do not prescribe the medications given. At least in MN that is the case. Don’t know about other states these days.

      jwirr

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