Kids behind bars in American juvenile facilities are getting anti-psychotic drugs intended for bipolar or schizophrenic patients, even when they haven’t been diagnosed with either disorder, according to a year-long investigation by Youth Today.
Even in cases when diagnoses are made for such disorders, some experts believe those diagnoses are rooted in convenience rather than the medical evidence.
“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,” Youth Today points out.
The findings come from state juvenile systems that provided in-depth information on their use of the drugs. Only 16 states responded to a nationwide survey by Youth Today. The other 34 states, including Georgia, wouldn’t or couldn’t demonstrate that they were monitoring the use of the medications on jailed kids.
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