The data, as reported by IMS Health, the largest and most credible source of prescribing data in the United States, is staggering: 274,804 babies, 370,778 toddlers and 500,948 preschoolers have been prescribed psychiatric drugs so powerful that they carry 386 international drug regulatory warnings. In total, the number of 0-5 year olds prescribed dangerous and life-threatening drugs psychiatric drugs is 1,080,168, all before most have ever entered kindergarten.
IMS Health, a company that provides information, services and technology for the healthcare industry breaks down the psychiatric child-drugging:
ADHD Drugs—44 drug regulatory agency warnings
0-1 Years 1,422
2-3 Years 10,413
4-5 Years 181,023
Antidepressants—134 drug regulatory agency warnings
0-1 Years 26,406
2-3 Years 46,102
4-5 Years 45,822
Antipsychotics —72 drug regulatory agency warnings
0-1 Years 654
2-3 Years 3,760
4-5 Years 24,363
Anti-Anxiety Drugs—25 drug regulatory agency warnings
0-1 Years 227,132
2-3 Years 282,759
4-5 Years 247,754
These are just numbers, though, and don’t demonstrably reflect the horrific adverse effects associated with these drugs…effects so bad that an increasing number of countries are continually adding warnings for those prescribed the drugs, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
ADHD Drugs: There are 44 warnings from eight countries warning ADHD drugs/stimulants, which are prescribed to 188,899 0-5 year olds (including the drugs commonly known as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Metadate, Vyvanse and Provigil), cause a host of serious adverse effects, including: 13 warnings causing heart problems, 10 warnings causing mania/psychosis, 9 warnings causing cardiovascular problems, 8 warnings causing death, 4 warnings causing hallucinations, 4 warnings causing depression, 4 warnings causing violence, hostility or aggression, 4 warnings causing seizures and 3 warnings causing agitation or irritability.
Antidepressants: The data on the prescribing of antidepressants to 0-5 year olds is equally disturbing. There are 134 drug regulatory warnings from eleven countries (U.S. United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Russia, Italy, Denmark and Germany) and the European Union.
Thirty-seven warnings on antidepressants (including Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, Effexor, Lexapro, Elavil, Remeron, Strattera and Sarafem) causing suicide/risk/attempts, 30 warnings causing heart problems, 21 warnings causing birth defects, 20 warnings causing Serotonin Syndrome, 10 warnings causing hostility/violence/aggression, 8 warnings causing self-harm, 5 warnings causing mania and psychosis, to name a few. And, of course, there is the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) black box warning (the federal drug agency’s most serious warning) for suicidality on all antidepressants.
Antipsychotics: The rapid rise in the prescribing of antipsychotics to 0-5 years olds was highlighted last year in a New York Times article: Still in a Crib, Yet Being Given Antipsychotics, reporting, “Almost 20,000 prescriptions for risperidone (commonly known as Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel) and other antipsychotic medications were written in 2014 for children 2 and younger, a 50 percent jump from 13,000 just one year before, according to the prescription data company IMS Health.”
With more than 27,000 0-5 year olds being prescribed antipsychotic drugs, there is much to worry about. While there are no studies regarding the effectiveness or risk in children, there are known adverse effects associated with the drugs, forcing eight countries (U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa) to post 72 warnings about antipsychotic use. Of these, there are 17 warnings on antipsychotics causing heart problems, 15 warnings causing death/sudden death, 9 warnings causing weight gain, 8 warnings causing involuntary movements or movement disorders, 7 warnings causing stroke, 6 warnings causing convulsions, seizures or tremors and 5 warnings causing diabetes, to name a few.
Antianxiety drugs: There have been 25 warnings from six countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Germany) warning that anti-anxiety drugs cause harmful side effects including addiction, withdrawal, cognitive impairment, amnesia, depression, hallucinations and suicide risk.
There no longer is any doubt about the possible known risks associated with psychiatric drugs, nor is there any doubt, based on the number of warnings issued on the drugs, that in the case of our nation’s youngest citizens, there is no proof that the drugs are either safe or effective.
It is for this reason that the claims of child abuse now are being associated with the prescribing of psychiatric drugs to children, least of all babies, toddlers and preschoolers. After all, State child abuse laws are defined as any act (or failure to act) that (in part):
- Results in imminent risk or serious harm to a child’s health and welfare due to physical, emotional or sexual abuse;
- Affects a child (typically under the age of 18);
- By a parent or caregiver who is responsible for the child’s welfare.
Acknowledging the above definition, how then, given the serious even life-threatening warnings associated with the psychiatric drugs, can one not claim that drugging babies, toddlers and per-schoolers is not child abuse?