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2014-1

Requesting the United States Department of Health and Human Services to Recommend any Changes to Federal Law that May Be Indicated for the Fostering of Increased Opportunities for Athletic, Creative, Social and Intellectual Activities for Children in Their Schools, Homes and Communities and for Investigating and Addressing the Deleterious Effects of Overmedication on Children in the Country

REPRESENTATIVE NORA ESPINOZA (NM) HEALTH CARE TASK FORCE

WHEREAS, according to data obtained from IMS Health (Intercontinental Marketing Services), the number of 0-5 year old children on psychiatric drugs has increased 42% since 2009. In 2012, there were one million eighty-five thousand four hundred ten children aged 0-5 on psychiatric drugs, which is the highest the number has been in the last decade.

WHEREAS, there are an estimated nineteen million seven hundred eighty-six thousand six hundred forty-nine children worldwide who are taking psychiatric drugs; and

WHEREAS, in the United States, there are an estimated eight million four hundred thousand children on psychiatric drugs, which include two million five hundred thousand on stimulants, two million on antidepressants, two million five hundred thousand on antipsychotics and one million four hundred thousand on mood stabilizers; and

WHEREAS, in the face of enormous societal pressure to prescribe psychiatric drugs for children, parents have the right to be fully informed about the consequences of their children taking psychiatric drugs in order that they may decide what is right for their children; and

WHEREAS, the American Psychological Association reports many Americans visit their primary-care physicians and . . . walk away with a prescription for an antidepressant or other drugs without being aware of other evidence-based treatments — such as cognitive behavioral therapy — that might work better for them without the risk of side effects; and

WHEREAS, a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry reports that, since 1993, the rate of antipsychotic psychiatric drugs prescribed to children has increased by a factor of nearly eight, with much of the prescribing being for "off-label" uses that the federal government has not specifically approved; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Bruce Perry, a senior fellow at the Child Trauma Academy in Houston Texas, has raised concern about off-label use of antipsychotic psychiatric drugs for children, stating that the "actual evidence base that would support" these uses is "scant to non-existent"; and

WHEREAS, the federal Food and Drug Administration has directed manufacturers of psychiatric antidepressant drugs to revise the labeling for their products to include a boxed warning and expanded warning statements that alert health care providers to an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents being treated with these agents; and

WHEREAS, thirty-one regulatory agencies in eight countries have issued warnings relating to drugs used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, linking these drugs to suicidal ideation and behavior, violence, aggression, agitation, anxiety, depression, heart attacks, strokes, sudden death, drug addiction and abuse, hallucinations, convulsions, hostility, weight changes, disturbed sleep and seizures; and

WHEREAS, Sydney Walker III M.D, a board-certified neuropsychiatrist, observes that creative or intelligent children become bored and will not focus — they fidget, wiggle, scratch, stretch and start looking for ways to get into trouble — and thousands of them are put on psychiatric drugs simply because they are smart and bored; and

WHEREAS, the president of the United States’ Commission on Excellence in Special Education has found that 40% of American children who are in special education programs and have been labeled as having learning disorders have simply never been taught to read; and

WHEREAS, pediatric neurologist, Dr. Fred A. Baughman, Jr., states that parents, teachers and children are "horribly betrayed" when a child's behavior is labeled as a "disease"; and

WHEREAS, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that individuals with regular access to health care were two and seven-tenths times as likely to have used prescription drugs in the past month than those without regular access to health care; and

WHEREAS, with the expected increase in access to health coverage through national and private health insurance, Medicaid and school based health clinics, children may have a greater likelihood of receiving health care; and

WHEREAS, while it is advantageous for children to have access to all of the health care they need, with greater exposure to health care comes the risk that they will receive medication to correct behavior that is not actually illness but is merely a reflection of normal childhood energy levels, curiosity and reactions to boredom;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, BY THE NATIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS OF STATE LEGISLATORS that the United States Department of Health and Human Services be requested to consider the effects of overmedication on children's health in the state; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Department of Health and Human Services hear testimony from experts in education and in health on increasing children's opportunities to be active and maintain sound mental and physical health without medication through increased opportunities for athletic, creative, social and intellectual activities in their schools, homes and communities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States Department of Health and Human Services consider recommendations for changes to federal law that may be indicated for the fostering of increased opportunities for athletic, creative, social and intellectual activities for children in their schools, homes and communities and for investigating and addressing the deleterious effects of overmedication on children in the country.

THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED ON APRIL 25, 2014 AT THE NHCSL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE & BUSINESS BOARD OF ADVISORS MEETING HELD IN PARK CITY, UTAH.

Sponsor: Representative Nora Espinoza (NM)

Co-sponsor: Representative Louis Ruiz (KS)