A debate over giving psychotropic drugs to foster children erupted last year after a 7-year-old boy who was heavily medicated while in foster care took his own life. Since that time, the state of Florida has taken a closer look at the use of psychotropic medication in state foster care. In response to one suggestion that foster children should not be used for testing potentially dangerous psychotropic drugs, Jill Hartzler, an associate Food and Drug Administration commissioner, argued that Florida should not bar foster children from being used for psychotropic drug testing because the benefits can outweigh the risks. Who associate commissioner Hartzler thinks ultimately benefits in this benefit/risk balancing analysis is unclear. However, the benefit cannot be intended for the foster children who may be used like guinea pigs or their parents who are helpless to prevent total strangers from subjecting their children to potentially dangerous drug testing.
Richard Wexler with the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform commented, “I would love to ask Associate Commissioner Hartzler if she’d care to let a total stranger decide if her children should be enrolled in a trial for a potentially dangerous drug.”
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