Minority Report

Candid Conversations on Race, Culture, and Therapy

Insane in the Membrane

Spoken Word Poem & Blog


Insane in the Membrane

My kid’s six,

and he’s acting out,

what should I do,

to stop his cries and pouts?

I’m unsure,

but I know he’s depressed,

doc prescribes Prozac, 

sounds crazy, I must confess,

yet I oblige,

since they’re the experts,

who am I to question,

clinical trials based on solid research?

Naturopaths disagree,

 as do many others,

who say there’s something here that seems really fishy,

giving kids drugs for depression, anxiety, and ADD,

popping pills as if they were swallowing candy,

It’s insane in the membrane,

that’s for sure,

drugs and chemical reactions in a growing brain,

can lead to even more suffering and distressing pain,

Sure there’s FDA approval,

for Prozac, an anti-depressant,

but to have young Johnny take it,

don’t you think you’re being a bit incessant?

I’m no rocket scientist,

but it seems fairly evident,

if a kid’s depressed,

drugging him up, just doesn’t make common sense?

Biased research will cite,

improvement in many cases,

but if you read the fine print,

suicide can go up and depression may worsen,

Here’s my prescription,

since I don’t prescribe drugs,

get your kids active, eating healthy, and socially connected,

talk to them regularly,

and stop being so passive,

Your kids need you,

more than your need for a quick fix or solution,

stop looking at the doc,

confusing his wisdom with God,

he’s not the ultimate healer,

just a man doing a job.

What the world needs,

is not more drugs,

we need more caring,

adults reaching out to young ones,

mentoring if willing,

a community to come together,

to raise each other’s families,

that way,

kids will know they are loved unconditionally.

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I wrote this Spoken Word poem after hearing about a 9 year old boy being prescribed Prozac and I found this unconscionable. The industry is obviously divided on the use of medication but there's got to be a point where we as citizens say this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Since the FDA approved Prozac in 2003 to minors (children at least 8 years old), the pharmaceutical industry has capitalized on a new generation of potential patients. Federal Health Department figures reveal that children as young as two are being prescribed anti-depressants, with alarming increases in the numbers of prescriptions of the controversial drugs in the 2-6, and 7-11 age groups.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists said it was disturbing that anti-depressants were being prescribed for children at all especially since the FDA reported that an extensive analysis of clinical trials showed that antidepressants may cause or worsen suicidal thinking or behavior in a small number of children and adolescents.

European nations are much more cautious than Americans with giving medication to children. "The experts have decided these medicines may do more harm than good in the treatment of depression in under-18s," the British agency said in a leaflet given to patients.

One study in the Archives of General Psychiatry concluded that about 1 percent of American children are treated for depression in any year and 57 percent of those get antidepressants, said Mark Olfson, the lead author.

While Olfson's study did not analyze why so many children were given antidepressants, he said the lack of trained child psychiatrists and psychologists might be prompting a swifter resort to prescription pads.

What does this mean? In the past psychiatrists were trained in talk therapy and would only resort to medication as a last resort for adult clients, now due to lower reimbursement rates from managed care and their own lack of training or understanding, psychiatrists are relying more and more to medication as the solution.

Gone are the days of talk therapy for psychiatrists, most have sold out and are under the pressure to prescribe medication as a means of sustaining a livelihood. It's both a shame and a sham that I hope we as a community will rise up against this fallacy that medicating our children is our best option for emotional well-being.

Sam Louie is a therapist with a private practice in Seattle specializing in multicultural issues and sexual addiction.
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