In Ireland, Antipsychotic Drugs Used Extensively On People With Learning Disabilities


“Just over half of people with learning disabilities living in residential centres are being prescribed powerful antipsychotic drugs which can be used to control the behaviour of vulnerable residents,” reported The Irish Times.

The figures came from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, and were based on a nationally representative sample of people with an intellectual disability aged 40 and older.

“Drug use was highest among those living in residential or institutional settings (54 per cent),” reported the Times, “followed by community group homes (42 per cent) and independent settings (16 per cent)… Campaigners say the scale at which these ‘chemical cosh’ drugs are being used pose troubling questions about the quality of life for thousands of people with intellectual disabilities living in institutions or other settings.”

Disability centres challenged over use of antipsychotic drugs (Irish Times, June 2, 2015)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a freelance journalist who writes frequently on the interfaces between psychiatry, civil rights, the justice system, and social change. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, nine Western Magazine Awards, and five Webster Awards for journalism. He is currently working on a book about people's experiences of forced psychiatric treatment, and can be contacted through his website.


  1. It’s ignorance. Vulnerable people in Ireland should be looked after properly, not slyly medicated to death out of view. I’ve been on these drugs and they are torture – when I stopped taking them I got a lot worse, and then gradually better, and then well.