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Incarcerated Youths Getting Potent Psych Drugs Whether They Need Them or Not

A ground-breaking year-long national investigation has uncovered evidence that many youths incarcerated in American juvenile facilities are getting potent anti-psychotic drugs intended for bipolar or schizophrenic patients, even when they have not been diagnosed with either disorder.

As published on their website, Youth Today’s findings are derived from records of state juvenile systems that provided sufficiently detailed information on their use of these anti-psychotics – called “atypicals.”

“The atypical anti-psychotics were being used to treat a wide variety of diagnoses, including intermittent explosive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and even the more common attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder,” Youth Today said.

“Critics believe most of these diagnoses are simply a cover for the fact that prisons now use drugs as a substitute for banned physical restraints that once were used on juveniles who aggressively acted out.”

Since by law Medicaid cannot be spent on incarcerated persons, states have to fund inmates’ health bills themselves. And, Youth Today spent a year trying to find out what states were spending on juvenile inmates. Only 16 states responded to Youth Today’s questions, but it was enough to make the researchers question the drugging of children in the prison system.

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