A recent New York Times expose documented the extensive overmedication of people with disabilities in residential service-provision. 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. 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 that might justify their use. This is a critical issue, and it is imperative that New York's Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and State Legislature take action to address it.
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