Family fights to get 8-year-old's ADHD prescription medication

Family fights to get 8-year-old's ADHD prescription medication

NEW AUGUSTA, MS (WDAM) - A New Augusta woman said her great-grandson is caught up in new patient paperwork that is preventing him from getting his much needed ADHD medication.

Patricia Martin said her 8-year-old great-grandson Damien was diagnosed with ADHD a little over two years ago. Martin said Damien and his family just moved to New Augusta from Monroe, Louisiana, and are struggling to get an appointment to refill his medicine.

"He's been doing real good until he ran out of his medicine, and we can't seem to get an appointment with a doctor to give him any medicine," Martin said. "We're afraid for his health as well as his education because he acts up in school when he's not on his medicine."

Martin said she has started new patient paperwork for Damien at Connections-Behavioral Health center in Hattiesburg, but it has been almost a month since she sent in the forms, and Damien still has not seen a doctor for a prescription.

"Now we're waiting for them to decide to call us back with an appointment now that the papers have been signed, and in the meantime, nobody seems to care that this child can't get his medication," Martin said.

Martin said when she spoke with doctors and staff at Connections, she was told it was the only clinic in the area able to prescribe ADHD medications. However, Jonah Taylor, communications manager for the clinic, said in an email Wednesday "that Connections is not the only healthcare facility in the area that prescribes ADHD medication, so we certainly wouldn't want to claim that."

Seven on Your Side reached out to several pediatric clinics Wednesday to check if any other healthcare centers did prescribe ADHD medication, and both Columbia's Family Clinic and The Children's Clinic said they have doctors who do prescribe those drugs.

Damien takes 10 mg tablets of Methylphenidate, more commonly known as Ritalin, which is a Schedule II federally controlled substance, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. That means it is a drug with "a high potential for abuse...with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence," according to the DEA's drug scheduling program. While there is no specific federal limit to the quantity of Schedule II drugs provided, the DEA's Office of Diversion Control notes "some states and many insurance carriers limit the quantity of controlled substance dispensed to a 30-day supply."

Martin said Damien was able to have a prescription sent from Louisiana to Mississippi after moving, but now that his medical records have been signed over to Connections, the Louisiana doctor no longer has jurisdiction.

"The old doctor can't do anything because mama's already signed the papers to get a new doctor," Martin said. "So he's in that in between space where nobody seems to really care."

Martin said she is concerned about Damien's academic performance plummeting if he doesn't get a prescription soon.

"He did great last year in school," Martin said. "A's and B's and he was doing real good up until the time he ran out of his medicine. Now he's gone from A's and B's to C's and D's and F's, and he's got 9-weeks tests next week."

The FDA also lists falling behind in school as a consequence of untreated ADHD. Martin said Damien failed first grade before being diagnosed and treated, and she said she does not want that to happen again.

"Any parent with a child with ADHD will tell you how important it is for that child's physical and mental well-being for them to have the medication so they can go to school," Martin said. "And a month, two months is too long to have to wait. We just want to be able to take the child to the doctor and get his medication."