Assembly Committee Votes to Commission Study on Role of Schools in Student Psychiatric Drug Use
The Assembly Education Committee yesterday approved a bill (SB 1289) that would require the Department of Education to study the role of school personnel in recommendations on whether students should take psychiatric drugs, such as Ritalin, to control their behavior, the Sacramento Bee reports. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ray Haynes (R-Riverside), also would require the department to study "alternatives" that public schools could offer to address student behavior problems. According to a Bee investigation, the number of prescriptions written or refilled for stimulants and depressants for children ages 18 and younger doubled from 1995 to 2000, and the number of prescriptions or refills of anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medications tripled over the same period. Haynes said that he proposed the legislation after a number of parents reported "stories of being pressured" by school officials to place their children on psychotropic treatment or risk their children's expulsion. Several other states have commissioned similar studies, the Bee reports. The California Psychological Association has agreed to work with Haynes on the legislation, which moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 6/27). The Senate passed the bill earlier this month (Assembly Web site).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.