A decade ago, Texas had a serious drug problem.
Psychotropic medications — like antipsychotics, stimulants, mood stabilizers, antidepressants and sedatives — were being overprescribed in the state’s foster care system, endangering the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens and costing the state millions.
But this is a success story. In recent years, Texas has dramatically reduced the use of psychotropic drugs in foster care. And understanding how we successfully tackled this issue may serve as a roadmap for solving other pervasive public policy problems.
The problem first burst onto the agenda in 2004 when then-Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn released “Forgotten Children,” a report that found too many foster children on too much medication.