25 January 2009

Drugging Children

In, "Dispatches from Prozac City, an estate somewhere near you" by Matthew Parris, October 11, 2003; a depressing story of drug abuse is recorded. What makes the story all the more depressing is the complicity of the State via NHS policy and ignorant GPs in ensuring that poor people life their lives in a drugged stupor.

Fast forward to today. I'm reading, R v Donavan Matthews Sentencing Remarks (9 page pdf document). Not with any view to discovering anything about drug abuse but something caught my eye.

Paragraph 5 says, "Most significantly, it is clear that she [Shannon Matthews] was also drugged in this period with the adult sedative temazepam and with a travel sickness preparation called “Traveleze” of which the active ingredient is meclozine hydrochloride. Each of these drugs tends to induce drowsiness and lethargy when administered. Scientific testing revealed that the drugs were administered to Shannon not only in the period of her detention in the flat, but also for a period of up to 20 months prior to her recovery on 14 March. The unavoidable inference is that this drug had been given to her on a regular basis and as a matter of routine while she was in the normal custody of Matthews. It was also administered in the period when she was kept at the flat."

What I find disturbing is the idea that the child had been drugged over a 20 month period prior to her abduction.

This, to me, suggests that it may be common place not only for Matthews but for other 'mothers' to drug their children with sedatives provided by the State.

I wonder whether or not this is common practice?

Further notes for consideration.

  • 'Shannon had been drugged over a 20 month period'; presumably this fact was determined by the chemical analysis of hair samples. Was consent necessary to take a sample of Shannon's hair, and if so, who gave the consent?

  • Paragraph 26 of the sentence note says, "... having regard to their low intellect [Donavan and Matthews], as emerged in evidence at trial and in the presentence reports, it must be doubtful whether they could have conceived or continued these offences without the assistance or connivance of others.

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