Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week: Drug Danger Warning Issued by Watchdog

Approximately 7.2 million children are using psychiatric drugs, and almost half of them are on drugs due to being labeled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Alarmed at the significant number of children and foster children prescribed psychiatric drugs, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is inviting concerned parents and caregivers to their center located at 109 N. Fort Harrison Ave in downtown Clearwater to learn more about drug side effects during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Observed from February 3rd to the 9th, Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week exists to bring attention to the “mental health needs” of children but the Florida chapter of CCHR, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the protection of children, believes the focus should be on the rampant drugging of children across the country.

In 2015, the research arm of Florida’s child-protection system released a report revealing that foster children are being put on psychotropic medications without caregivers following proper procedures and that 11 percent of the children in foster care had active prescriptions for at least one psychotropic drug. While a review of 140 children’s files showed just 20 percent of these children met all the key requirements for administering such medication. [1]

The psychiatric drugging of children is not just confined to the foster care system. In 2011 a two-year investigation concluded that kids in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas were “prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates 2.7 to 4.5 times higher than other children in Medicaid in 2008.” [2]

Additionally, today in the United States approximately 7.2 million children between the ages of 0 to 17 are using prescription psychiatric drugs, and almost half of them are on drugs due to being labeled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This labeling represents a billing code that has come under increasing criticism for diagnosing normal childhood behavior as a “mental disorder”. [3]

The psychostimulant, methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, is one of the drugs prescribed to children who have been labeled as ADHD and comes with such side effects as nervousness, agitation, anxiety as well as psychosis. [4] Methylphenidate is a Schedule II drug, which means the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies it as having a high potential for abuse. At the same time, the DEA warns that methylphenidate produces many of the same effects as cocaine and that psychotic episodes and severe psychological addiction have all been associated with methylphenidate use. [5]

“We have found that many parents are not told the dangers associated with these drugs and lacking this information they may too easily give permission for a prescription and regret it much later,” said Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida.

According to researchers this use of psychotropic drugs to “treat” children is also significantly greater in the U.S. compared to the Netherlands and Germany. Use of antidepressants and stimulants was 3 or more times greater in the U.S. (6.7%) than in the Netherlands (2.9%) and Germany (2.0%). Even more alarming is that these researchers found that, “stimulants were used at rates 10-25 times higher in American children 0-4 years old compared to the two Western European countries.” [6]

CCHR hopes that the December 2019 “groundbreaking” settlement of a civil rights lawsuit filed in Missouri, which alleged “a longstanding failure by the state to provide adequate oversight in the administration of powerful psychotropic medications to children in foster care”, will also bring about much needed reform in Florida. [7]

Individuals are invited to the center, located at 109 N. Fort Harrison Avenue in downtown Clearwater to learn more about the dangers associated with psychiatric drugs. To learn more, please call 727-442-8820 or visit

About CCHR: Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, first brought psychiatric imprisonment to wide public notice: “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health,’” he wrote in March 1969.


[1] Report finds Florida foster kids put on psychotropic drugs without following proper procedures

[2] Foster Kids Given Psychiatric Drugs At Higher Rates

[3] Number of Children & Adolescents Taking Psychiatric Drugs in the U.S.



[6] Psychotropic drug use is much higher in American youth compared to other countries.

[7] Settlement creates major reforms for use of psychotropic drugs in Missouri’s foster kids

Release ID: 88945214