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Public hearing 6: Psychotropic medication, behaviour support and behaviours of concern

The Royal Commission held a public hearing in Sydney beginning Tuesday 22 September 2020. The hearing was closed to the public and was live streamed on the Royal Commission website.

The Royal Commission’s sixth public hearing examined the use of psychotropic medication to address behaviours of concern exhibited by people with disability.

When a person with disability engages in behaviours that put themselves and/or others at risk of harm, this is referred to as ‘behaviours of concern’. Psychotropic medication is an umbrella term used to refer to any drug capable of affecting the mind, emotions or behaviour.  Among the types of psychotropic drugs are anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, and mood stabilisers.

Among the issues that were examined at the hearing are:

  1. the extent of use of psychotropic medication to address behaviours of concern, and the effects that medication can have on the health and wellbeing of people with disability
  2. the regulatory frameworks for the use of psychotropic medication as a chemical restraint, a form of restrictive practice
  3. how the restrictive practices regulatory frameworks in Queensland operate in practice with respect to the use of psychotropic medication
  4. the intersection between health and disability services in addressing behaviours of concern exhibited by a person with disability
  5. alternatives to psychotropic medication, particularly behaviour support.