AARP Wins Class Action Against Over-drugging of Seniors

Rob Wipond
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A California nursing home has settled with AARP in an unprecedented class-action lawsuit against the facility for using inappropriate kinds and amounts of psychiatric drugs on elderly residents without the consent of the residents or their families, according to AARP Bulletin. University of California nursing professor Charlene Harrington told AARP Bulletin that the use of “unnecessary” and “extremely dangerous” antipsychotics as chemical restraints in US long-term care facilities is widespread. AARP lawyer Kelly Bagby said of the successful legal action, “It is the first case of its kind in the country, and hopefully we can replicate this nationwide.”

AARP Bulletin says over-medicating of seniors in long-term care facilities “stems from inadequate training and chronic understaffing, as well as an aggressive push by pharmaceutical companies to market their products.”

Attorney Toby Edelman of the Center for Medicare Advocacy told AARP Bulletin, “The misuse of antipsychotic drugs as chemical restraints is one of the most common and long-standing, but preventable, practices causing serious harm to nursing home residents today. When nursing facilities divert funds from the care of residents to corporate overhead and profits, the human toll is enormous.”

Drug Abuse: Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes (AARP Bulletin, July/August 2014)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

3 COMMENTS

  1. This is fantastic news!! I just realized that perhaps this might be a group that might work with survivors to continue to stop the poisoning of the elderly in nursing homes, assisted living, etc. while becoming interested in stopping the poisoning of other vulnerable groups like children, toddlers, babies in utero and down the line to include the whole human race.

    Those in this great article who saw first hand the horrible deterioration and even ultimate death in a short time from deadly, brain disabling neuroleptic and other psych drugs, ECT and other horrors would be in an excellent position to see that subjecting children and babies to such poisons is a very horrible, dangerous thing to do.