Following powerful testimony by former foster youth, a package of reform bills designed to rein in the excessive use of psychiatric drugs in California’s child welfare system met unanimous approval in the state Senate on Tuesday — the first step in a series of legislative moves ahead.
The foster youth told the Senate’s Human Services Committee they’d been kicked out of residential treatment programs for refusing drugs that caused them debilitating side effects, had been prescribed four and five medications at once, and often suffered in silence when no one was there to listen.
Former foster youth Michael Place told senators he was misdiagnosed and “coerced” into taking drugs that caused the slight teen to suffer excessive drowsiness and grow to 250 pounds. “I wasn’t bipolar,” said Place, now a psychology graduate student and youth advocate. “I was an 11 year old emotionally traumatized child