Published: 18 May, 2012, 23:23
Edited: 19 May, 2012, 20:43
The parents of a 4-year-old girl are outraged after their daughter was placed under the care of Child Protective Services and then heavily medicated with psychotropic drugs.
Christina and David Harrison were heartbroken when Child Protective Services took away their daughter, Rachel, when she was only three. At the time, authorities suspended their parental rights after the child’s mother tested positive for cocaine, something she now says she heavily regrets. When she finally got to see her daughter again, however, she noticed some serious changes with Rachel.
The next time the Harrison’s saw their daughter, it was Rachel that was on drugs.
"She was never abused or neglected in any way except by CPS," Debbie Flores, Rachel's grandmother, tells a Fox News affiliate in Houston.
"They actually testified in the first hearing that Rachel was never neglected, never abused and she was a happy healthy child," Christina Harrison adds. When the CPS sent Rachel to a doctor, however, a physician wrote a prescription that would soon change all of that.
"There's paperwork saying she was screaming for mommy and daddy," says her mother.
"And the easiest way to handle her acting up was to medicate her," her father adds.
To Fox 26, Rachel’s parents say their daughter was drooling and appeared emaciated.
"Every time we would go visit her at visitation she was skinn[i]er and she'd just be lethargic not wanting to move not wanting to say hi just sit in the corner and keep to herself," her father claims.
"She was also writing prescriptions," her mother tells the network. "They might play doctor but she was writing prescriptions on paper, ‘Here take your medicine.’"
The Harrisons asked CPS if their daughter was put on drugs, to which the agency allegedly replied no.
Six months after continuously asking, though, it was finally revealed in a court hearing that their small daughter was being prescribed heavy medication that the US Food and Drug Administration says shouldn’t be given to a child under the age of 10.
"3-years-old, given psychotropic drugs, there's no reason for it none at all," David Harrison tells the network.
Rachel, at only three years old, was hooked on Risperdal, a drug used to treat Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar disorder. Sadly, she isn’t the only one either.
A report from ABC News published in November 2011 reveals that around one-fourth of foster children examined by the Government Accountability Office were prescribed at least one psychiatric drugs, with thousands of youngsters forced to take doses higher than what the FDA approves.
“And hundreds of foster children received five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time despite absolutely no evidence supporting the simultaneous use or safety of this number of psychiatric drugs taken together,” ABC adds in their report.
The network adds that in Texas, home of the Harrison Family, children are more likely to be prescribed psychotropic drugs than non-foster children in four other states examined — Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan and Oregon — and not just by a little.
“In Texas, foster children were 53 times more likely to be prescribed five or more psychiatric medications at the same time than non-foster children,” the ABC report reveals. Nationally speaking, children in foster care are nearly five times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic drugs than non-foster children.
In the case of little Rachel Harrison, her parents say a CPS-appointed physician filled out a Risperdal prescription for their daughter, but only after he met with the girl for 16 minutes. Dr. Osagie ignored attempts from Fox to comment on the issue, the station reports, which very well be because he is very busy — they network adds that he has so far treated 755 children in CPS foster care.
“When a parents messes up, you call CPS. Who do you call when CPS messes up?” asks Christina Harrison to Houston’s Fox 26.
“There’s nothing you can do.”