Unfortunate Reality

Jury finds mother guilty of murder in girl’s drug death – The Boston Globe.

I’ve been kind of following this story for the last several years because it’s SUCH a sad situation. In a nutshell:

Rebecca’s case attracted national attention to the expanding use and potential abuse of giving psychotropic drugs to very young children. When Rebecca (4) died, she and her two older siblings, Gerard and Kaitlynne Riley, were each on three potent psychiatric medications for bipolar and hyperactivity disorders. Each of them went on the drugs at age 2.

This just bothers the shit out of me, and I’m really happy the mother was found guilty (the father’s trial is starting next month barring a plea bargain). It wasn’t until recently that I discovered this trial sits a little closer to home than just being in my state–the family’s therapist (not the psychiatrist that was writing the scripts) worked for the same company Ellie used to work for, and was constantly trying to get the dosages lowered, or new meds for these kids–bipolar disorder isn’t exactly easy to properly diagnose, and, if you talk to a GOOD therapist, CAN’T be diagnosed in someone that young (I forget the earliest age bipolar can typically be diagnosed).

This actually sits closer to home than that. In elementary school, my brother’s teachers were always trying to get him put on ADHD meds because he didn’t sit still and listen like a “good student.” Luckily, my mom was good about taking us for yearly check-ups and would ask the doctor if he thought there was something that should be looked into because she didn’t see anything wrong with him. EVERY year, the doctor told her that my brother was completely healthy and was a “typical boy.” So every year, when his new teacher brought up ADHD, Mom would have the same conversation, “His doctor says he is perfectly normal. He’s BORED and doesn’t like to sit still. That doesn’t mean he has a learning disability. You need to learn how to do your job and deal with him rather than medicating him into submission.”

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3 Comments

Filed under Massachusetts, News

3 responses to “Unfortunate Reality

  1. You’ve been around just long enough to know my experiences with the MA mental health industry were far from pleasant. So I’m sadly unsurprised this happened and would not be surprised to know it happens a lot more often than people might think. There are good mental health workers out there, but there are also too many bad ones the system works its ass off to shield. That we live in an age where people just want to shove pills down someone’s throat instead of have to deal with any sort of a problem, and are apt to diagnose normal (or slightly abnormal) kid behavior as something that its really not (because then we can get pills and problem solved), it just makes things that much worse.

    More than the mother I’d want to see the doctor in jail for putting a fucking two year old on medications like that. But I’m not too surprised it won’t happen, those people never get what’s coming to them.

  2. eternalhearts

    Both Ellie and my roommate are therapists–it happens WAY more than anyone could ever imagine. Unfortunately, they are “just the therapist” and the Dr. (usually a PCP) feels it’s fine to have a 2-year old on these kind of meds. I HATE that PCP’s are allowed to prescribe for mental ‘disorders.’

    I would love it if the Dr in this case is charged and put in jail, but you’re right–they never get what’s coming to them.

  3. Beth

    Amen, thanks for posting your opinion.