Legal & Other Options for Victims

Help drugging victims by taking action against responsible parties!

One of the best ways to help stop the drugging of nursing home residents is to hold nursing homes and doctors accountable when they engage in this practice. If you, a family member, or friend has been harmed by misuse of antipsychotic drugs or other types of psychoactive drugs, here are actions you can take to fight the drugging and to seek justice.

Take legal action: Drugging of nursing home residents is not only dangerous, it is against the law. You can go to court to enforce the law and, if someone has been harmed, to seek compensation from those who are responsible. CANHR’s Lawyer Referral Service can refer you to a qualified elder abuse attorney. Call us at 1-800-474-1116 to discuss your case.

File a complaint against the nursing home: California nursing homes are licensed and inspected by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Although CDPH is a big part of the problem – it rarely takes strong action against nursing homes that misuse antipsychotic drugs and has fought legislative reforms – it is a good idea to file a complaint with it. The more complaints on drugging that are filed with CDPH, the more pressure it will face to take action. It must begin investigating your complaint within 10 working days, or within 24 hours if it involves imminent danger to a resident. Read CANHR’s fact sheet, How to File a Nursing Home Complaint, for instructions. Call CANHR if you have questions or if CDPH is not responding properly.

File a complaint with the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse (BMFEA): The BMFEA is a division of the California Attorney General’s office that investigates and prosecutes crimes against nursing home residents. Misusing antipsychotic drugs to chemically restrain nursing home residents can be a very serious crime, as evidenced by the BMFEA’s charge that the practice amounted to “assault with a deadly weapon” in a pending criminal case against a Kern County nursing home administrator, director of nursing, pharmacist and doctor. There are three ways to file your complaint: (1) Call the BMFEA at 800-722-0432; (2) File your complaint on-line at http://www.ag.ca.gov/bmfea; or (3) Mail a copy of your complaint to the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550.

File a complaint against the doctor: When doctors order psychoactive medications (including antipsychotic drugs) without obtaining informed consent, they are violating the law. File a complaint against the doctor through the Medical Board of California.

Contact the media: Nothing gets a nursing home’s attention faster than the local media. Consider asking the media to help expose dangerous drugging practices.

Alert state legislators: CANHR is working to strengthen California laws against the drugging of nursing home residents. You can help by informing your state senator and assembly member about the inappropriate use of psychoactive drugs. Find your legislators at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

Click here to sign our petition and join our campaign.

Please send CANHR copies of complaint letters and other correspondence at: CANHR, 650 Harrison Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94107-1311

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