Why Are Children Given Anti-psychotic Drugs?

I have been wanting to share something with you, though it isn’t easy for me to do so because it is so tragic and to personal to admit. It is incredibly painful and fills me with anguish. Time had to pass, but I do it in the hopes that it might help save a life.

We have heard in the news that President Trump has declared Opioids use a national emergency Happy to hear that something is going to be done about this part of addiction to prescription pain killers. However, there is another problem that’s need to be a national emergency along with this. I know firsthand that in the 90s Clinton cracked down on mother’s who couldn’t take care of their children due to addiction and the state took their children and placed them in foster care and under a unification program if she could not comply the children were placed for adoption and the mother’s parental rights were taken away. Meanwhile in foster care these children were seen by well-meaning counselors and doctors  and given a battery of antipsychotic drugs for a number of reason, they missed their Mom, they couldn’t sleep, they couldn’t sit still, they were to hpyer, or they were crying and then given another drug to combat the effects of one of the drugs that made them anger, sleepy, and on and on. Some to the tune of 13 were given at time and as addicting as any street drug and were given to children as young as five years-old. This is a fact, I have a granddaughter and a grandson, who were two of those children. Both became addicted to meth in their teens.  My granddaughter got clean and kicked her addiction while my grandson is awaiting trial on a murder charge of stabbing his maternal grandmother to death earlier this year.

Yes, the signs were there that my grandson was at risk of dying from a overdose. People have often asked me that question… “Did I see the signs?” and in the beginning every single time I was asked, it felt as if a vat of salt was being poured into my very new, raw and open wounds. It made me angry and defensive, as it constantly fed my guilt at not being able to save my own daughter from herself.

The passing of time and advocating for addiction prevention has allowed me to shift my perspective. I am not so ridged in my thinking I still grapple with regret, I don’t think that will ever ago away. But today, when I am asked if there were signs, I stand tall, take a deep breath and tell the truth. Yes, the signs were there, but I did not know it. I did not have the training, education or experience to recognize them or to know how to respond even if I did.

Months and years before the murder, my grandson struggled.  I knew, and it was that his maternal grandmother tried to love him through She recognized that he was in the midst of a deep depression and reminded him constantly that he was not alone,  she was there to listen, to talk, to offer her presence and unconditional support. She reminded him that even in his darkness, broken state, he was loved. I’d like to believe these moments  gave him some relief, some respite from the storm raging inside. I’d like to believe that maybe his grandma helped him to hold on a little bit longer, to fight another day, to cling to that thread even as it unraveled in his hands.

But I also know those things were not enough to save him and her. It is true as parents and grandparents we cannot save our children from the demons of drug addiction and we cannot control the addiction and if we do we also loose, perhaps our life in the process. I know I did with my daughter. I had to let go and let God meaning I had to let go of the need to control.

Meth causes all kinds of behaviors: beginning withdraw from things that once brought him pleasure.  He expressed feelings of being a burden & a sense of hopelessness. He wasn’t sleeping and his eating patterns changed. He lost weight, was anxious and agitated.  I learned that when a meth addicts is in the anxious agitated stage was to stay as far away from them as possible. This is when there are the most dangerous. All of these were signs only came as hindsight the addict might be at risk..   hints that many aren’t equipped to understand.

Like so many who are struggling with drug addiction and mental illness, they often don’t entrust us with his full truth. They don’t come to us and tell us that they need help for their addiction.  Though the fact is, abuse always comes before addiction. This much I do know, and this is what I want to say.  It is true that hindsight is 20/20. And there is often not much good to the old saying, if I knew then, what I know now. The knowing will never bring My daughter and grandson from the gripes of addiction. And the hindsight remains fraught with pain & regret. But I choose to look at it anyway and I choose to share my story with others. Because I believe that out of the tragedy and devastation, lives can be saved.

I chose to get educated, even if this tore away every fragile scab that I had developed. I wanted to ensure that if anyone I loved or cared for was ever at risk for addiction, this time I would be better equipped to respond. This time I would recognize the signs. This time I would know what questions to ask, including the hardest one of all. This time I would know what steps to take to keep that person safe long enough to get them into the right hands and ensure that they got the proper care.  This time, I might just be able to save a life.

Education and knowledge is power. The newest statistics on drug related deaths are staggering. Drug overdoses now kill more Americans than automobiles and guns. Click To Tweet

More than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year — the most ever.

The disastrous tally has been pushed to new heights by soaring abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers, a class of drugs known as opioids.

Heroin deaths rose 23 percent in one year, to 12,989, slightly higher than the number of gun homicides, according to government data released Thursday.

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New approaches to pain and addiction amid America’s opioid epidemic


Deaths from synthetic opioids, including illicit fentanyl, rose 73 percent to 9,580. And prescription painkillers took the highest toll, but posted the smallest increase. Abuse of drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin killed 17,536, an increase of 4 percent.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this. Certainly not in modern times,” said Robert Anderson, who oversees death statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I also believe that it is our moral obligation to do so. Addiction can be prevented. We are not helpless in this fight. Those who are struggling in the darkness need us to shine a light. They need us to be that glimmer of hope that helps them to hold on, to stay and to get the treatment they need. They need to feel that we can be a safe space, that we will listen and that when they show us their pain, we will treat it with compassion, care and understanding.

How do we do that? How do we as parents, spouses, children, or loved ones empower ourselves? How do we do that as educators, clergy, community leaders and people who care about our fellow human beings?

It begins with knowledge. It begins with awareness. It begins with education.

Nothing I do will ever will change the past. But if the lessons I’ve learned can help to save the life of another, then our pain and struggles will not be in vein.

To learn more about the risk factors and warning signs of Addiction visit the Drug Free America Foundation, Inc

If you are struggling, in crisis, and need/or someone to talk to call https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day, begin the task anew.” – Saint Francis de Sales

Be sure to check out my eBook… you may download some free chapters to explore that may help you find some insightful answers A Journey of Faith

Can one master all of these questions? I’m unsure, but I’m aware that being honest with oneself and asking questions in critical moments is a good step in living a life from the inside out.

I’ll return with much more insightful content. Until then, please feel free to contact me with any advice, criticism, feedback at admin@insideoutmagazine.org or via Twitter at @jamh123. I gladly welcome it!
May you always find peace.


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