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Are Some States Drugging Incarcerated Kids to Alter Their Behavior?

Despite the risks to the kids, adolescents in detention are being given antipsychotic drugs instead of counseling.

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… The way to think about using atypicals for youths is in terms of risks and benefits, explains Olfson. If an anti-psychotic does not address the patient’s problem, he says, the “benefit derived is vanishingly small or nil. But the risks are going to be the same, roughly, whether you have a psychiatric illness or not.”

Studies have shown it is cheaper to medicate children than to pay for counseling, which is why children from low-income families are four times as likely to receive antipsychotic drugs compared to the privately insured, according to the Times.

Marian Wang is ProPublica's lead reporter-blogger. She previously worked for Mother Jones , where she spearheaded the magazine's social media strategy.