ADHD Cases Spur a Surge in Drug Prescriptions

Antipsychotic drugs are prescribed in nearly one-third of children’s visits to psychiatrists. A new study found that the frequency of the prescriptions for teens and younger children was up from one in 11 visits during the 1990s. Much of that increase, researchers say, is from doctors prescribing the drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD — a use for which the drugs have not been approved by federal authorities. The doctors, however, use their legal lattitude to prescribe the drugs on an “off label” basis for those purposes. Dr. Mark Olfson, the study’s lead author and a Columbia University psychiatry professor, said he hopes parents will ask doctors about alternatives to antipsychotics. Reuters

Consumer safety officials sue to force company to quit selling toy magnets. The Consumer Product Safety Commission filed an administrative complaint against Zen Magnets, a Colorado company that imports small but powerful magnets that can be molded into different shapes. Although the magnets are meant for adults, the CPSC said they pose dangers to youngsters who play with them and to teenagers who use them to mimic tongue, lip or cheek piercings. If accidentally swallowed or inhaled, the magnets can cause infection or even death. Zen Magnets vowed to fight the complaint. Earlier, the CPSC filed a similar complaint against Maxfield and Oberton, which makes “Buckyballs” magnets. The Associated Press

California district attorneys act to stop alleged illegal dumping by Walgreens. District attorneys representing 36 counties, along with two city attorneys, requested an injunction to force the drugstore chain to immediately stop the dumping and comply with environmental laws. In June the officials sued the Illinois-based company, accusing it of “routinely and systematically” disposing biological, pharmaceutical and automotive hazardous wastes at local landfills for more than six years. Employees at more than 600 stores were allegedly told to put the waste, which requires special handling, into regular trash bins to cut costs. The suit also alleges Walgreens mishandled confidential medical records. The Oakland Tribune, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office

Regulators seek $634,800 in back wages, penalties and damages from a California farm-labor contractor. The state’s labor commissioner, Julie Su, is suing Javier Diaz and his company, Diaz Contracting, of Visalia, Calif., for alleged violations including failing to pay minimum wage and overtime to 129 employees. She noted that low-wage workers in fields such as agriculture are “particularly vulnerable” and added, “Our intent is to level the playing field so that violators gaining a competitive advantage over law-abiding employers are held accountable.” Diaz could not be reached for comment. Los Angeles Times, California Department of Industrial Relations

U.S. workplace safety agency accuses South Dakota plant of 51 violations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed up to $225,000 in penalties against Adams Thermal Systems of Canton, S.D., which makes engine cooling systems. That brings to $435,000 the amount of fines sought this year by OSHA against  Adams, which was placed in the agency’s severe violator enforcement program. The latest alleged violations include blocked exits, improperly stored gas cylinders and missing or inadequate guards on more than two dozen pieces of machinery. Earlier this year Adams was cited in connection with an accident last November that crushed to death a machinist. Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.), OSHA

Norfolk Southern ordered to pay $300,000 to a former Tennessee employee fired after reporting an injury. Today’s decision against the railroad, by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, followed a similar action last month. At that time, OSHA ordered Norfolk Southern to pay more than $800,000 to three workers fired after reporting injuries. The agency said today that “the company continues to retaliate against workers for reporting work-related injuries, which effectively has created a chilling effect.” In the new case, the former worker reported being hurt after bumping into a horizontal beam. Norfolk Southern, OSHA said, accused him of “falsifying his injury” and then fired him. The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.), OSHA

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein and Bridget Huber

Print Print  

Leave a comment