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Overuse of Medication in Foster Children

This article is part 3 of 8 in the column Children of the State

If you are a foster child getting medications for emotional and mental health issues in the United States you may be getting more than you need. A 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that foster children in five surveyed states “were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates 2.7 to 4.5 higher than were nonfoster children in Medicare in 2008” (GAO-12-270T). This was true for all three age ranges examined, from birth to age 17. In a follow-up 2012 GAO nationwide survey, 18 percent of foster children were taking at least one psychotropic medication (GAO-14-651T). Many were taking multiple medications concurrently.      

One major reason for this problem is polypharmacy, or the use of multiple medications by a single patient, often to treat the same condition. Approximately 13 percent of foster children Read more

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