02 May 2020

New chapter in campaign to tackle over-medication

The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) has today (5 February 2020) announced the culmination of a successful campaign to raise awareness of the need to tackle over-medication.

STOMP (STop Over-Medication of People with a learning disability, autism or both) is a cross-sector campaign that encourages health and social care providers in England to collaborate to ensure that individuals are only taking the psychotropic medication that they really need.

The campaign was inspired by Public Health England[1] research that estimated that every day between 30,000-35,000 people with a learning disability are taking prescribed antipsychotic or antidepressant medication, or both, without appropriate clinical justification. This means that for some people medication is being used as a means of controlling “problem” behaviour, even when alternative evidence-based approaches are available. Long-term use of these medicines can lead to significant weight gain, organ failure and, in some cases, death.

During the campaign, more than 250 social care provider organisations pledged to take measurable steps to tackle over-medication. This level of commitment demonstrates that the sector is ready to move from its campaign-phase to embedding the use of alternatives to medication as part of ‘business as usual’.

This new phase will be led primarily by the NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams. Resources to support the implementation of STOMP in social care will continue to be available on the VODG website here.
[1] Public Health England (2015) Prescribing of psychotropic medication for people with learning disabilities and autism.