The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "A Hard Pill to Swallow"
A Hard Pill to Swallow
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Are Foster Kids Overmedicated?

Gloria Williams, in “A Hard Pill to Swallow,” p. 14, and Renee John in “No More Refills,” p. 17, discuss their experiences with taking medication to deal with depression. Gloria is on many kinds of medication and experiences a range of physical and psychological side-effects. A doctor finally takes her off medication and Gloria never wants to go on it again. Renee has more mixed feelings: she’s glad she didn’t become too dependent on meds when she was in the system, because now that she’s out she can’t afford them. On the other hand, she wonders if she would be in a better mental state today if she had been on medication earlier. And in “What Are They Thinking?” on p. 18, several FCYU writers interview a psychiatrist for his point of view on therapy and medication.

Prompts for discussion and/or writing:

—Some people think youth in foster care are overmedicated because “it’s easier to give a child a pill that to talk to that child.” What is your reaction to this? Is medication a good way to help people deal with their problems? When is it good and when is it destructive?
—Should medication be voluntary? Would that make kids more open to taking it? Why or why not?
—When should medication be mandatory? Are there times when a youth should not have the right to say no to medication? What are those times?
—Do you have any personal experiences with medication that you’d like to share? Were your experiences positive or negative? Why?
—Some kids who refuse medication end up “medicating themselves” with drugs or alcohol. Is there a difference between using drugs and alcohol, and using an approved medication, like Prozac? Which is the better way of dealing with emotions. Why?
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