"Records obtained by The Miami Herald show Gabriel may have been molested by an older boy while he was living with grandparents in Ohio, while his mother was in jail."
Broward child's suicide raises questions about medication
A Broward foster child who killed himself last week had been prescribed powerful psychiatric drugs, some of which the FDA does not approve for children.
BY CAROL MARBIN MILLER
Weeks before his death, Gabriel Myers, the 7-year-old Broward boy who hanged himself in the shower of his foster home, had been prescribed a powerful mind-altering drug linked by federal regulators to an increased risk of suicide in children.
In all, Gabriel had been prescribed four psychiatric drugs, two or three of which he was taking at the time of his death, said Jack Moss, Broward chief of the state Department of Children & Families. Moss said he is not sure which medications the boy was taking because Margate police took the foster home's medication log as part of an investigation into Gabriel's death last week.
Three of the psychotropic drugs carry U.S. Food and Drug Administration ''black box'' label warnings for children's safety, the strongest advisory the federal agency issues. Three of the medications are not approved for use with young children, though they are widely prescribed to youngsters ''off label'' -- meaning doctors can prescribe the drug even if not formally approved for that use.
In 2005 -- reacting to a series of stories in The Miami Herald that as many as one in four foster children were prescribed potentially dangerous mind-altering drugs -- state lawmakers approved a law aimed at curbing their use. Children's advocates now question whether the law is being ignored.
Gabriel was being treated by a Broward psychiatrist who is on a list of Florida doctors that the state Agency for Health Care Administration red-flagged as having ''problematic'' prescribing practices, said Robert Constantine, director of AHCA's Medicaid Drug Therapy Management Program, which tracks prescribing of psychiatric drugs to children.
The list flags doctors with a high volume of pre>