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article imageTeen's Zoloft doubled before suicide streamed on Facebook Live

By Arthur Weinreb     Mar 27, 2017 in Health
Miami - The month before Naika Venant, 14, hanged herself while filming on Facebook Live, a doctor doubled her anti-depressant medication. The medication, Zoloft, comes with a strong warning about the risks of suicide in children.
Yesterday, the Miami Herald reported the amount of Zoloft the 14-year-old was to take was doubled by a doctor. The drug comes with a black box warning, the strongest warning issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The warning states when taken by children, the drug can cause more severe depression and lead to suicide.
A spokesman for Pfizer, the company that manufactures Zoloft, said the warning contains very detailed instructions for parents and other caregivers to carefully monitor children taking the drug for suicidal thoughts or behavioural changes. Zoloft should only be prescribed for children suffering from obsessive -compulsive disorder.
James Sewell, a child welfare consultant, said black box warnings are given for a reason and it should be a hard-and-fast rule that Zoloft can never be prescribed for conditions Venant had been diagnosed as having.
On Jan. 22, 2017, Venant went into the bathroom of the foster home she was living in and began streaming on Facebook Live. The filming lasted about two hours before coming to an abrupt end. After she was found she was taken to hospital but was unable to be revived.
Three days after her death, the Miami Herald reported the livestream was viewed by hundreds of people. Some young people made fun of the girl while others thought she was just fooling around. Not surprisingly, no one bothered to call for help. Before Facebook removed the video, around 3,000 comments had been posted.
According to a report by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Venant had been seriously sexually abused and rejected by her mother. She had been repeatedly raped by an adolescent boy and became sexualized at an early age. One time she went into foster care after her mother caught a four-year-old girl performing oral sex on her. Her mother severely beat her, leaving 30 lash marks on her body.
Venant spent most of her young life going in and out of foster homes. Altogether she had been in 14 different homes.
Two years before her death, Venant was diagnosed as suffering from depression and PTSD. According to the report, the fact she bounced from foster home to foster home made it difficult for her ever-changing guardians to properly monitor her.
While the report indicated the state could have done a better job, the relationship the girl had with her mother was cited as the main problem. As a representative of the Florida Department of Children and Families pointed out, his department does not prescribe drugs—doctors do.
The doctors who prescribed Zoloft for Venant have refused to comment.
READ ALSO: Alleged gang rape of Chicago teen filmed on Facebook Live
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