Last Friday, the New York Times ran an expose documenting the systemic overuse of psychotropic medication by New York’s residential service-provision system for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. According to the Times, people with developmental disabilities in group homes in New York are more likely to be given Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug that also serves as a tranquilizer, than multivitamins. In many cases, psychotropic medication is prescribed as a chemical restraint to control behavior, even when it lacks any therapeutic purpose. Although there are appropriate uses for medication, lack of oversight has led to clear and systemic abuses. No one should be medicated for the purpose of controlling behavior.
This isn’t a new problem. Data from the National Core Indicators project, a national database run by the Human Services Research Institute and the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services, shows that the percentage of people with developmental disabilities receiving psychotropic medications is much higher than the percentage who have the co-occurring mental health conditions which might justify their use. The long term side effects of such inappropriate usage include obesity, diabetes, long term brain damage, injury and even death. As a result, we are asking you to join us in writing to the New York Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and the NY Legislature to tell them to take action against chemical restraint today! Our action alert can be found at: http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-new-york-to-stop-the-chemical-restraint-of-people-with-disabilities
Your voice will help make a difference. Please take the time to send a message to the State of New York that chemical restraint is never appropriate, then pass along the action alert to your friends and family and ask them to do the same. Help us spread the message far and wide.
Thank you for your advocacy,
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network