Pilot Program Results in Fewer Drugs Prescribed to Kids - 8 News NOW

Pilot Program Results in Fewer Drugs Prescribed to Kids

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Margo Margo
LAS VEGAS -

In 2009, the I-Team broke a story on the startling number of children in the state's child welfare system who were over prescribed powerful anti-psychotic drugs.

This prompted calls for oversight at the state and national levels, where they created a pilot program to fix the problem.

Margo, who doesn't want her last name revealed, didn't know how to help her son who was diagnosed with ADHD.

"We were trying to figure out why he was still you know, very hyper, still obnoxious," she said.

Margo later found out, he was not taking the right dosage.

"We finally got his medications stable to where he could function, but he's not a complete zombie," he said.

The change came about because of Healthy Minds, a pilot program through Clark County Family Services. It was started in October after the state found a startling number of kids in the system were being given powerful, mood-altering drugs.

"We've seen kids come in to the program that had various prescriptions prescribed that they may not have needed. They were keeping them less active, and keeping them from being kids," project therapist Janet Nordine said.

The program brings in skilled therapists and psychiatrists to assess more than just a child's medical condition.

"If you simply focus the treatment on the child, and you don't look at the environmental factors around them, you shortchange the kid," said Dr. Lisa Durette, a child and adolescent psychologist.

The program has resulted in a nearly 40 percent reduction in the amount of medications prescribed, and a nearly 90 percent reduction in hospitalizations.

"I've seen a big change in my kids," Margo said.

So far, there are 30 kids, including Margo's son, in the program. The hope is to expand the pilot program to help identify kids who would do better with less medication.

The Department of Family Services say it could soon be helping as many as 500 kids, if the program is able to expand. While money has been set aside to fund Healthy Minds, the final outcome of the program's future won't be known until the end of July.

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