HB: House Bill
SB: Senate Bill
s. ###: Statute

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Psychotropic Magnum Opus - LOLgislation #037

FL Senate 2010: SB 2718
By Senator Ronda Storms (R, Hillsborough-Polk)

This bill is 443 lines long. TLDR. Instead I'll give you the gist. (Which is still too long. Sry.) Relating to the willy-nilly drugging of children: some good intentions.

An act repealing s. 39.407(3), F.S., relating to the authority of the Department of Children and Family Services to prescribe psychotropic medication to a child in its custody;

(1)(b) […] the [department's] use of psychotropic medications […] has increased over recent years. While this increased use of psychotropic medications is paralleled by an increase in the rate of the coadministration of two or more psychotropic medications […] and research supporting the practice of polypharmacy in this population is limited.

(1)(c) The Legislature further finds that […] children […] are subjected to multiple placements and many service providers, with communication between providers often poor, resulting in fragmented medical and mental health care. […] high turnover among child welfare caseworkers […] no consistent interested party […]

(1)(d) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature that children […] receive those medications safely as  part of a comprehensive mental health treatment plan overseen by a court-appointed guardian ad litem.

(8) Absent a finding of a compelling governmental interest, a psychotropic medication may not be prescribed for any child from birth to 10 years of age who is in out-of-home placement. […]

(9) At no time shall a child in the custody of the department be allowed to participate in a clinical trial that is designed to develop new psychotropic medications or evaluate their application to children.

Parents can parent however pathetically or praiseworthy they choose, within the law; this is America. This means we are completely free to drug the children we can't parent.

But the minors in question are Wards in Chancery. We are admitting we often lose them in the shuffle, subject them to caseworker whim, and keep them manageable with ever-changing pharmaceutical cocktails paid for by Medicaid. We admit they often have no single "consistent interested party" overseeing their long-term development and integration into society. A lifetime of drug use was supposed to fill the hole the selfish bitter mother/angry distant father/lack of both or either left behind.

I suspect the presence alone of a "consistent interested party" would put a bigger dent in our rising prescription rates than the "express, informed consent or assent of either party." But that's not quite the "interest" we're talking about here.

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