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Nickel Belt NDP MP France Gélinas says physical restraints have been outlawed, but drugs are now being used to subdue people. (CBC)

The inappropriate use of anti-psychotic medication in long-term care homes in the Sudbury area is slightly lower than the national average.

The Canadian Institute of Health Information shows roughly one-in-four residents in the city are given tranquilizing drugs, even though they're not psychotic.

The national average is one in three.

The abuse of anti-psychotic medication is one measurement managers can use to judge quality of care, said Douglas Yeo, a spokesperson with the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

"Maybe this home has an issue with the rate of anti-psychotic use, or the rates of falls are too high, or the rate of depression is too high. Focus on that. "

Nickel Belt NDP MPP France Gelinas, who worked in the health care field for years, said she remembers the practice of restraining people — physically — with Velcro ties.

"Now, [we're] not allowed to do this, [which is a] good thing," she said.

"[But] now we're doing this with medication — shame on us."

Gelinas noted that many medications given to seniors are "actually on a list that should not be prescribed to older people. But they continue to be for the purpose of making people docile and passive — and this is wrong."

The Local Health Integration Network's Long-Term Care officer said the over-use of anti-psychotics is being addressed.

Kirsten Farago reports more than 70 workers have been re-trained to manage dementia patients without drugs.

"These workers look at ways to address the root cause, as well as strategies, to deal with them."

This is not a new issue. A 2007 report from the Auditor General pinpointed anti-psychotics as over-prescribed and dangerous to seniors.