Incarcerated Louisiana Youth Overmedicated into Submission, Investigation Finds

Strong antipsychotic medications are being prescribed to incarcerated juveniles across Louisiana despite lacking diagnoses for the conditions they were designed to treat, according to an investigative report by New Orlean’s The Lens. The medications are meant to help with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. After examining their records, The Lens found 22 percent of medications prescribed in eight Louisiana facilities were designed to treat bipolar disorder. But, only five percent of diagnoses were of bipolar, the investigative news site found. No diagnoses of schizophrenia were made. The most common diagnosis (found in 20 percent of incarcerated juveniles) was “conduct disorder.

One Man’s Journey Through Crime, Drugs, Schizophrenia and Rehabilitation

When Andrew Peterman of Idaho first came into the juvenile justice system at age 15, he did not know that schizophrenia was driving his anger, which in turn was resulting in arrests and illicit drug and alcohol usage. In time, thanks to juvenile detention and treatment for his schizophrenia he has been able to straighten out his life. In fact, he has come so far on his journey that the Coalition for Juvenile Justice awarded him the 2011 National CJJ Spirit of Youth Award to “recognize and celebrate a young adult…who has made great strides through involvement with the juvenile justice system, overcome personal obstacles and is today making significant contributions to society.” In the video below by Leonard Witt, Peterman tells of his journey through crime, drugs, schizophrenia and rehabilitation. See the video time splits below.

Marijuana Use Speeds Onset of Schizophrenia, Study Says

For those at risk, marijuana use hastens the onset of schizophrenia, according to a new study.  Researchers found those with a genetic predisposition for psychosis would begin to experience symptoms an average of 2.7 years earlier if they smoked marijuana, and that can mean a greater disruption to their life. “We’ve known for many years that people who develop schizophrenia earlier have a number of poorer outcomes,” Michael Compton, co-author of the report, told the magazine  Miller-McCune. Schizophrenia typically begins between the ages of 18 and 28.  According to the researchers, developing symptoms earlier makes it harder for schizophrenics to succeed later in life because it impacts their ability to graduate high school or finish college. Even though the disease is genetic 80 to 85 percent of the time, many at risk have no family members who suffer from schizophrenia.