House OKs Bill To Prevent Required Student Use of Psychotropic Drugs
The House on Wednesday voted 407-12 to approve a bill (HR 1790) that would require states to establish policies under which schools cannot require students to take psychotropic medications as a condition of attendance, CQ Today reports.
Under the legislation, sponsored by Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), states that do not comply within one year would lose federal education funds. The bill would apply to medications that affect "perception, emotion or behavior."
In a letter that sought support for the legislation, Kline wrote, "Parents should never be faced with the requirement of medicating their child, against their will and better judgment, in order to ensure their child will receive educational services" (Wayne, CQ Today, 11/6).
In related news, a new study has found that use of prescription drugs to treat depression in teenagers has increased in recent years as the use of psychotherapy has decreased, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. The study, conducted by Jun Ma and Randall Stafford of the Stanford Prevention Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine, examined two large databases on visits to physicians and hospitals from 1995 to 2002, the most recent year for which data are available.
Between 1995 and 2002, the use of prescription drugs to treat depression in teens increased from 47% of all visits in 1995 to 52% of all visits in 2002, and the use of psychotherapy decreased from 83% to 68%, the study found. The overall number of visits increased from 1.4 million in 1995 to 3.2 million in 2002, the study found.
Stafford said, "There is the assumption that the medications are so good, it obviates the need for counseling" (AP/Long Island Newsday, 11/6).