Report: Medicaid Over-Prescribes Mind-Altering Drugs to Foster Children


DR. MARK ABDELMALEK, BRINDA ADHIKARI, SARAH KOCH, JOSEPH DIAZ and CLAIRE WEINRAUB
ABC News
December 1, 2011

The federal government has not done enough to oversee the treatment of America’s foster children with powerful mind-altering drugs, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to be released Thursday.

ABC News was given exclusive access to the GAO report, which capped off a nationwide yearlong investigation by ABC News on the overuse of the most powerful mind-altering drugs on many of the country’s nearly 425,000 foster children.

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The GAO’s report, based on a two-year-long investigation, looked at five states — Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas. Thousands of foster children were being prescribed psychiatric medications at doses higher than the maximum levels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in these five states alone. And hundreds of foster children received five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time despite absolutely no evidence supporting the simultaneous use or safety of this number of psychiatric drugs taken together.

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