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Detainees Drugged and Deported

POSTED: 03:11 PM ET, 05/14/2008 by Derek Kravitz

"Pre-flight cocktails" of dangerous psychotropic drugs were forcefully given to foreign detainees by federal employees during trips back to home countries, The Post's Amy Goldstein and Dana Priest report today in the last installment of the four-part series into medical treatment provided to immigrants by the federal government.

The drugging of detainees without a medical justification is a violation of some international human rights codes. Included in many of the more than 250 cases the Post identified as improper are instances where detainees were given Haldol, an antipsychotic medication; Ativan, which is used to treat anxiety and seizures and is given to patients before surgery; and Cogentin, a muscle relaxant that works within the brain.

In an online chat this afternoon, Goldstein said that internal e-mails, memos and meeting minutes showed that employees of the Division of Immigration Health Services, the tiny agency that is responsible for foreign detainees' care, "are worried about what is happening but feel unable to fix problems."

"Senior officials in the Agency's Washington headquarters have warned repeatedly about the dangers of staff shortages," Goldstein said. "Doctors who work as clinical director in the field have written that they are worried they could be sued because they are not providing a proper standard of care."

National Public Radio is featuring a segment today on the "Careless Detention" series called "How I Got that Story" and an NPR broadcast about the piece's findings will be available online this evening.

By Derek Kravitz |  May 14, 2008; 3:11 PM ET Post Investigations
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