The Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law claims that migrant children being held at the Shilo Treatment Center in Texas are being forced to take psychotropic drugs. These drugs are allegedly being used as “chemical straight jackets” instead of being used to treat any real disorders, reported NBC News.
Some kids are reportedly being forced to take as many as nine different pills in the morning and six more in the evening. Kids that refuse to do so are threatened with continued detention, while others are held down forcibly and injected with the medication instead.
Lawyer Carlos Holguin described the serious nature of the accusations.
“If you’re in Shiloh then it’s almost certain you are on these medications. So if any child were placed in Shilo after being separated from a parent, then they’re almost certainly on psychotropics.”
The employees that are being accused of drugging the children work for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, known as ORR. And instead of securing parental consent to administer the drugs, ORR staff were giving themselves the authority to give the drugs by filling out paperwork.
Moreover, the issue is not isolated at Shiloh, according to the lawyers.
The issue is grave because psychotropic drugs, especially when mixed with many different kinds, can lead to severe side effects.
For example, one of the kids, Julio Z, was thrown onto the ground and forcibly medicated. Julio has gained 45 pounds due to the medications. Another child, Isabella M, fell down numerous times after the medication overpowered her senses.
Some of the medicine that is being forced on the children include Latuda and Divalproex, according to the Express Tribune.
A lawyer for former detainees at Shiloh, Lorilei Williams, described her suspicions upon visiting the detention centers.
“I suspected they were being medicated to make them more subdued and more controlled … It wasn’t something that was really part of my job — to look at the medications and whether they should be on them, because as an attorney, I have no background on that.”
This is not the first time that Shiloh has come under scrutiny, however. The facility has fielded accusations of forced medication and the overuse of physical restraints. Also, President Clay Dean Hill has been accused of allowing a child to die while being restrained at one of his centers. Also, there have been allegations of sexual abuse. Although there have been calls to shut down Shiloh in the past, it is still operational and receiving plenty of funding.