Efforts to protect children in foster care from being inappropriately medicated with powerful antipsychotic drugs got a big boost forward on Tuesday, when California Gov. Jerry Brown signed three bills into law designed to reform prescribing.
By the time DeAngelo Cortijo was 14, he had been in more than a dozen foster homes. He had run away and lived on the streets for months, and he had been diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders, attachment disorder, intermittent explosive disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder. He had been in and out of mental hospitals and heavily medicated.
Antipsychotics are the top-selling class of drugs in the United States, with sales of $14.6 billion in 2009 alone. Their use in children and adolescents in the United States is increasingly prevalent — and children in foster care are among the most likely to be medicated.