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August 18, 2019
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Slovakia: Dozens of children from orphanage ending up in psychiatric care - is it a business?

15.7.2019 9:42
Slovak television channel TV Press has aired shocking testimony by 13-year-old Zuzana, including allegations of the abuse of psychiatric medication on children. (2019) (PHOTO:  TV Press)
Slovak television channel TV Press has aired shocking testimony by 13-year-old Zuzana, including allegations of the abuse of psychiatric medication on children. (2019) (PHOTO: TV Press)

Press TV in Slovakia has aired footage of a crying, horrified 13-year-old girl who has run away from a children's home because she is afraid the management will have her taken to a psychiatric facility as they did with her brother before her. She herself has spent two weeks in the facility once already.

The girl's name is Zuzana. Apparently she is meant to be sent to the facility because she cursed at a governess in the orphanage, despite having subsequently apologized.

According to Zuzana, many children have been taken from the children's home to the psychiatric facility, the youngest of them just seven years old. The children are doped there with psychiatric medications that they are instructed to take even after returning to the children's home.

Press TV interviewed Zuzana and then did their best to investigate the essence of the problem in their reportage. Zuzana's testimony was confirmed by former inmates of the children's home.

According to the reportage, dozens of children from the Center for Children and Families in Svidník have ended up in the psychiatric facility in Hraň. They range in age from seven to 17 and are dependent on strong sedatives and other drugs by the time they are released from the psychiatric facility.

The director of the center, Ľubomír Sluka, says most of the children have mental disorders. The reporters, however, have ascertained that is not the case and that the psychiatric facility is receiving children from a very early age, with the youngest child using the strong drugs aged only seven.

From the testimonies of former inmates of the children's home it can be seen that the children are customarily prescribed drugs there. The approach is that the child is first assigned to the psychiatric treatment facility for a time, where the drugs are prescribed.

After returning to the children's home, the children must use the strong drugs for the rest of the time they are living there. Zuzana knew that a reporter for Press TV had been working on the case for some time, so when she was meant to be taken to the treatment facility, she immediately contacted their editorial office.

After the television crew visited the children's home, however, there was a 180-degree change of direction. According to a new decision by the management there, Zuzana would ultimately remain at the home and not be sent to the treatment facility.

The reporter had contacted people from the management team before visiting, but they locked themselves in their offices when he arrived and did not respond to his calls for interviews. "Our reporters are still investigating whether this is about some kind of dishonest business involving the children," Erik Hilár Lakatošoviec of Press TV said.

fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Dětské domovy, Psychiatrie, Slovakia, television



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