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In Loving Memory of Gabriel Myers Died in Foster Care Aged 7 years old

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Lukes Dad's picture
on Wed, 08/08/2012 - 20:25
Fight Child Protection Department Corruption: 

ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION 
Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, and Accountability
http://www.ahrp. org  
 
Gabriel Myers, a 7-year old boy who had been prescribed four powerful psychotropic drugs, committed suicide. 
According to the Florida chief of Department of Children & Families, the boy was taking two or three of these powerful, mind-altering drugs at the time of his death.
 
Gabriel was being treated by a "board certified child psychiatrist" who is on a list of Florida doctors that the state Agency for Health Care Administration red-flagged as having ''problematic' ' prescribing practices. 
The list flags doctors with a high volume of prescriptions of mental-health drugs or potentially dangerous combinations of the medications. 
 
Three of the drugs prescribed for Gabriel are controversial and carry Black Box warnings about death and suicide: the antidepressant, Lexapro, the antipsychotic, Zyprexa, and Symbiax, Eli Lilly's deadly combination - Zyprexa and Prozac. These three drugs were not approved for use in children. 
 
FDA officials, whose duty is to protect the public from dangerous drugs, turn a blind eye to the abusive prescribing of these toxic drugs for children. Indeed, FDA officials have shielded unscrupulous drug manufacturers - even as those companies pled guilty to criminal marketing. 
Case in point: Eli Lilly, manufacturer of both Zyprexa and Symbiax, pled guilty and settled the criminal case for $1,4000,000, 000 after settling a civil case .
http://www.ahrp. org/cms/content/ view/527/ 72/ 
 
Without a law to protect them, without an agency to protect them, without a pediatric association to protect them, American children are being targeted by drug manufacturers and unscrupulous child psychiatrists who receive payments from drug manufacturers have promoted the off-label, unapproved use of potentially lethal drugs for children. That's how companies such as Eli Lilly were able to expand psychotropic drug market, garnering $39, 000,000,000 from Zyprexa a toxic, death hastening drug. 
 
On January 14, 2009, New York Times reporters Gardiner Harris and Alex Berenson, who have been covering Eli Lilly and Zyprexa for several years, reported that in addition to targeting the  elderly for illegal marketing, "the company also pressed doctors to treat disruptive children with Zyprexa, court documents show, even though the medicine's tendency to cause severe weight gain and metabolic disorders is particularly pronounced in children ... The children receiving Zyprexa gained so much weight during the study that a safety monitoring panel ordered that they be taken off the drug." 
 
The Miami Herald reports that Dr. David L. Katz, professor of public health at Yale University, Medical School, called the use of such drugs on youngsters "extremely risky," He questioned whether the boy needed to be taking such powerful medications absent a diagnosis of schizophrenia. 
"These are medications that are potent and potentially dangerous," Katz said. "They certainly are powerful drugs for anybody, let alone a 7-year-old boy." 
 
Doctors who disregard the Black Box label warnings and prescribe highly toxic drugs for children - often in lethal combinations - should have their licenses revoked because they pose a serious danger to the community. 
 
Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav,
veracare@ahrp. org, 212-595-8974 
 
 
Broward child's suicide raises questions about medication

Apr. 21, 2009, BY CAROL MARBIN MILLER, MIAMI HERALD cmarbin@MiamiHerald .com

Weeks before his death, Gabriel Myers, the 7-year-old Broward boy who hanged himself in the shower of his foster home, had been prescribed a powerful mind-altering drug linked by federal regulators to an increased risk of suicide in children. 
 
In all, Gabriel had been prescribed four psychiatric drugs, two or three of which he was taking at the time of his death, said Jack Moss, Broward chief of the state Department of Children & Families. Moss said he is not sure which medications the boy was taking because Margate police took the foster home's medication log as part of an investigation into Gabriel's death last week. 
 
Three of the psychotropic drugs carry U.S. Food and Drug Administration "black box" label warnings for children's safety, the strongest advisory the federal agency issues. Three of the medications are not approved for use with young children, though they are widely prescribed to youngsters "off label" - meaning doctors can prescribe the drug even if not formally approved for that use. 
 
In 2005 - reacting to a series of stories in The Miami Herald that as many as one in four foster children were prescribed potentially dangerous mind-altering drugs - state lawmakers approved a law aimed at curbing their use. Children's advocates now question whether the law is being ignored. 
 
Gabriel was being treated by a Broward psychiatrist who is on a list of Florida doctors that the state Agency for Health Care Administration red-flagged as having "problematic" prescribing practices, said Robert Constantine, director of AHCA's Medicaid Drug Therapy Management Program, which tracks prescribing of psychiatric drugs to children. 
 
The list flags doctors with a high volume of prescriptions of mental-health drugs or potentially dangerous combinations of the medications. 
 
Dr. Sohail Punjwani has been on the list every quarter in which regulators have monitored the prescribing of psychotropic drugs since the program was created in 2006, said Constantine, a professor at the University of South Florida's Mental Health Institute. The practices of about 17,000 Florida doctors who prescribe medications to children on Medicaid are studied every quarter, and about 300 to 450 end up red-flagged on the list. 
 
And though
Florida law requires that either a parent or judge consent to the use of psychotropic drugs on foster children, a source with knowledge of the boy's case said Gabriel already had been taking a three-drug cocktail when Broward Circuit Judge Lisa Porter was informed at a March 11 hearing. The judge approved the medications over the objection of a court-appointed guardian, the source said. 
 
"We are devastated," said Jon Myers, the boy's maternal uncle, who cared for him from June through October 2008. "Gabriel's problems could not be solved by a pharmacy." 
 
Four feet tall and 67 pounds, with short-cropped brown hair, Gabriel was a bright, charming and often sweet little boy, those who knew him say. 
 
But he already had a sad past hinting at a troubling future. Records obtained by The Miami Herald show Gabriel may have been molested by an older boy while he was living with grandparents in Ohio, while his mother was in jail. 
 
On Thursday, Gabriel locked himself in a bathroom and hanged himself with a detachable shower head after arguing with the 19-year-old son of his foster dad about his lunch, Moss said. 
 
DCF petitioned a judge on Tuesday to unseal the boy's records in response to requests from The Herald and other media, spokeswoman Leslie Mann said. 
 
Punjwani told The Miami Herald that he is board certified as a child psychiatrist. He did not recall Gabriel, but Punjwani said he was part of a "huge" group practice and may have been one of many clinicians to treat the boy. 
 
Punjwani defended the use of psychiatric drugs on children, even if they are not approved for such use, saying the lack of approval stems from the reluctance of drug makers and the medical establishment to launch clinical trials on children. 
The anti-psychotic drugs, he added, are used routinely to treat mood instability and insomnia among children. 
 
Gabriel originally had been prescribed Vyvanse, an attention deficit/hyperactivi ty disorder drug approved for kids aged 6 through 12, Lexapro, an anti-depressant which is not approved for children, and Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic drug that also is not approved for kids, said Moss. 
 
Both Punjwani and Moss said they think the Lexapro and Zyprexa were discontinued in recent weeks, and that a drug called Symbyax - which contains the medication in Zyprexa along with another antidepressant - was substituted. 
 
Symbyax, recently approved for severe depression, is among a group of commonly prescribed anti-depressants, such as Prozac and Paxil, that the
FDA warned in 2003 were linked to an increase in ''suicidal thoughts or behaviors'' among children. Symbyax is not approved by the FDA for use on children. 
 
Dr. David L. Katz, professor of public health at Yale University's medical school, called the use of such drugs on youngsters ''extremely risky," He questioned whether the boy needed to be taking such powerful medications absent a diagnosis of schizophrenia. ''These are medications that are potent and potentially dangerous,'' Katz said. "They certainly are powerful drugs for anybody, let alone a 7-year-old boy." 
 
Jon Myers, the uncle who cared for Gabriel after abuse investigators found him in a car in a Denny's parking lot after his mother had passed out, questions whether Gabriel needed such potent medications to begin with. 
 
Myers said the boy's pediatrician had discontinued all psychotropic drugs while Gabriel lived with him, and the boy did well, earning A's and B's at the Hollywood Christian Academy. 
 
"We did not have any issues with him having tantrums," Myers said. "He would get upset, like little boys do." 
 
A week or two before Gabriel died, his grandfather in Ohio expressed concerns that the boy sounded overmedicated. "My father said that the last conversation he had a couple of weeks ago Gabriel sounded like he was too drugged," Myers said. 
 
"He sounded like he was doped up."

 

 

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Lukes Dad's picture

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CBS/WFOR) The apparent suicide of 7-year-old boy Gabriel Myers, who was taking several psychiatric medications, has led to the introduction of a bill in the Florida legislature, which would assure that powerful mental health drugs dispensed to Florida foster care children would be more closely monitored.

The proposal is largely based on the findings of a task force formed after Gabriel locked himself in a bathroom and hung himself with a shower cord last April.

Gabriel was on Seroquel - used to treat bipolar disorder - and other psychiatric drugs linked by federal regulators to potentially dangerous side effects, including suicide, but the risks may not have been adequately communicated to his foster parents.

The drugs are not approved for use by young children. But doctors often prescribe them 'off-label,' for purposes for which the drugs have not been approved.


Sen. Ronda Storms said prescribed drugs have replaced talk therapy and are over-prescribed to subdue unruly children. The measure would require an independent review before psychiatric drugs can be administered to children 10 or younger.

"All you do is mask the behavioral problems by treating him (psychotropically). All you're doing is putting him in a chemical straight jacket so that he can't act out so you can get him to 18 and dump him into adulthood and that's not acceptable," said Storms to CBS affiliate WFOR.

Gabriel's death prompted a statewide investigation that found 13 percent, or 2,699, of all foster children are on such drugs, according to a Department of Children and Families(DCF) study. That compares with only an estimated 4 percent to 5 percent of children in the general population.

Child advocates say the prescribing doctors often lack pertinent information on the child, including medical history and behavioral background. The bill requires caregivers and doctors to report any adverse side effects, which DCF must document.

The bill also requires children to have a mental health treatment plan that includes counseling for children prescribed such drugs.

Help Fight Child Protection's picture

My children and myself have been through exactly this nightmare one time or another prescribed at least half the the drug I saw listed my older children fought after watching me almost die from court ordered depakote.Liver failure and seizures finally got my order lifted.

I have one child Liam he was not so lucky after the foster factory worker got him commited he was started on one thing after another and after he came back they tested his blood to make sure he was on these drugs if levels looked like they were too low he faced removal any concerns that he was acting not himself were only met with more drugs ,

phone call from school more drugs .Over one three day span he did not sleep at all despite the night meds he progressed to beating his head at school so violently he made his head bleed screaming he wanted to die .

So more meds .My sister has custudy of my son it was the only way to keep him close thanks to some of the links on at mercy of the state I went to my sister and explained the symptoms of neurotoxicity and we fought him down to one non stimulant add med .

He is SOOOO diffrent now you wounldnt know he was the same child they were trying to tell us he was schizophrenic .6 weeks now almost of all meds WOW.