28 March 2022

STOMP stands for stopping over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both with psychotropic medicines. 

Stompoz on a green background. Photo of a woman on the right.

“Despite the widespread prescribing of psychotropic drugs to treat challenging behaviour in the absence of a defined mental illness, there is little robust evidence to justify this practice.” Researchers J. Trollor and Franklin Salomon, The Australian Prescriber, 2016.

The Morrison Government has announced that it will be targeting the inappropriate use of psychotropic medication in aged care and disability care services.  

Following findings into the Royal Commissions for Aged Care and Disability that psychotropic drugs were being over-used in people with behavioural issues, with or without the presence of a mental health diagnosis, the Morrison Government has joined forces with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC), the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) to tackle the issue. 

Kate Eastman SC told the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability: "Chemical restraints impair a person’s human rights - a person’s freedom of movement, liberty, privacy, the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability. These are rights recognised by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)."

Life Without Barriers is supporting the Government’s efforts by advocating the STOMP practice guidelines that were developed by the NHS in the UK.

Locally, STOMP is being championed by the Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability under the title STOMPOZ. It is asking health care workers to take the STOMP pledge – read the pledge here – and raise awareness around the issue using the #stompoz hashtag on social media posts. 

Brad Swan, Executive Director of Strategy and Engagement at Life Without Barriers, says, “It is well understood that individuals with an intellectual disability and autism are some of the most overly medicated communities, not only here in Australia but globally."

“Life Without Barriers is committed to this issue, and to working with the client, their families, the NDIS and their medical professionals to reduce the use authorised and unauthorised restrictive practices to improve a person’s quality of life."

“We strongly believe in a person’s quality of life and their right to choice and control over their own health and well-being, and support the planned review of a person’s medication by a medical professional.

"Life Without Barriers is strongly committed to working with our sector partners to champion the rights and wellbeing of those we support and will continue to partner with people to change lives for the better,” says Swan. 

To find out more about STOMPOZ, click here.  

To read the Government statement about psychotropics as restrictive practice, click here

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