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DJJ investigates use of psychotropic drugs in its facilities

By Sascha Cordner

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-982093.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – State officials want to know whether bribes were involved in the over-prescribing of anti-psychotic medications to minors in Florida's jails. As Sascha Cordner reports, the Department of Juvenile Justice is looking into both issues.

A memo issued by the Department's Chief Medical director in May instructs doctors and medical professionals to make sure they are prescribing psychotropic drugs in an appropriate manner, NOT as a punishment to children housed in the jails.

Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice has since launched an internal investigation looking at whether doctors were accepting payments from drug companies to prescribe excessive amounts of the mind-altering drugs, and if the department has any records to track those prescriptions.

Spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, Jennifer Davis, says her office will only open an investigation if it finds Medicaid fraud was committed. But, they're currently waiting to review records from the DJJ and the Agency for Health Care Administration.

A reporter's inquiry into the use of medications prompted the investigation.