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Drug Pusher Panel

January 25, 2007 permalink

Ontario has recognized that there is a problem with the way psychotropic drugs are administered to children, especially children in custody of children's aid societies. Its response is to establish a panel of experts to develop standards. Look at the credentials of the panel members. They are all within the industry that produces and prescribes drugs. Not one is a representative of parents or children victimized by the drugs. The pushers are making the rules.



Ontario Government Launches Expert Panel On Psychotropic Drugs

Advisory Body To Set Standards Of Care For Giving Certain Medications To Children And Youth In Residential Settings

QUEEN'S PARK, ON, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - The Ontario government has established an expert panel to develop standards of care for the administration of psychotropic drugs to children and youth in residential settings, including group and foster care homes across the province, Children and Youth Services Minister Mary Anne Chambers announced today.

"Our government is committed to the health, safety and well-being of children and youth receiving residential services," said Chambers. "We also understand that frontline workers involved in the daily administration of psychotropic drugs require support and guidance. That is why the expert panel will make recommendations on training for frontline staff to help them provide informed care and to monitor the impacts of medications."

The 13-member expert panel comprises leading health and social services professionals who have expertise in psychotropic drugs and residential services. In addition to developing standards, the panel will provide recommendations on training frontline staff to help them provide informed care and monitor the impact of psychotropic medications."

Psychotropic drugs, also called psychoactive drugs, are medications capable of affecting the mind, emotions and behavior. Legal psychotropic drugs include antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers and tranquilizers and are considered vital to the practice of psychiatry in the treatment of mood and behavior disorders.

Glenn Thompson, appointed chair of the expert panel, is a former deputy minister who has served in six provincial ministries. Following his retirement from the Ontario Public Service in 1991, Thompson joined the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division, and was executive director for nine years. He is currently the interim chief executive officer of the CMHA's national organization.

"The panel will review current clinical practice and consult with key clinical experts, professional and regulatory bodies, and service providers before we make our recommendations," said Thompson. "Our work will help to promote the safety and well-being of more young people in residential settings from youth justice to child and youth mental health to developmental services and child protection, including children's aid societies."

The other panel members are:

  • Kalyna Butler, a retired former psychiatry pharmacist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, at the Clark Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto. She has published a book called The Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs for Children and Adolescents.
  • Dr. Clive Chamberlain, a senior psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He works with children, adolescents and their parents and is an authority on youth violence and societal attitudes towards youth.
  • Dr. Simon Davidson, chief of psychiatry and chief of staff at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), an associate professor with the University of Ottawa and an associate member of CHEO. Dr. Davidson is also a past president of the Canadian Academy of Child Psychiatry.
  • Sylvia Hyland, vice-president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada, an independent, national non-profit agency committed to the advancement of medication safety in all healthcare settings.
  • Lucia Lee, executive director of the Murray McKinnon Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing community-based supports to at risk youth and youth in conflict with the law. She also volunteers with other community organizations.
  • Dr. Marty McKay, a clinical psychologist who has practiced in Toronto since 1976. Dr. McKay has been a consultant to public sector and governmental agencies including children's aid societies, the Ministry of Community and Social Services and facilities for people with medical and psychological disabilities.
  • Laurine Martyn, residential director of the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, Gail Appel Institute, established in 1986 to respond to the challenge of improved mental health care for children.
  • Dr. Ajit Ninan, a psychiatrist at the Child and Family Resource Institute and an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Ninan recently completed his child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the University of Rochester.
  • Dr. Wendy Roberts, director of the Child Development Centre at the Hospital for Sick Children and a professor of paediatrics at the University of Toronto. Dr. Roberts's current research focuses on autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Dr. Diane Sacks, president of the Canadian Paediatric Society of Canada and a guest lecturer on teen parenting issues. Dr. Sacks worked as a paediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine for more than 30 years.
  • Dr. Margaret Steele, chair of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests are psychopharmacology and psychiatric education.
  • Anne-Marie Watson is currently the director of service at the Children's Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk where she is responsible for child welfare services, operations, planning, residential licensing and children's residential services.

For further information: Chris Carson, Minister's Office, (416) 212-7118; Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416) 325-2256

Source: Press release by Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Drug Pusher cartoon

Addendum: A reader points out that three panel members, Dr. Simon Davidson, Sylvia Hyland and Dr. Marty McKay are not advocates of Ritalin for children. We also note that in Michelle Cheung's CBC report on boy "J", Dr Wendy Roberts helped to wean the boy from his drugs.