Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a long-awaited final rule banning the use of electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) on people with disabilities to control self-injurious or aggressive behaviors, finding that the devices present an “unreasonable and substantial” risk of serious harm to the people subjected to them. Today’s landmark victory is the culmination of years of advocacy by the disability community to end this dangerous and harmful practice. Read our full statement on the rule here.
CPR has a long history of advocating for a ban on the use of ESDs and protecting the rights of people exposed to or at risk of such treatment. For decades, we have represented people residing at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts, the only institution in the country that currently uses ESDs, where we have seen first-hand and spoken with our clients about the physical and emotional harm of ESDs. CPR has also worked together with many other disability organizations in efforts to end the use of ESDs by the federal government and by the state of Massachusetts.
The FDA’s final rule will become effective 30 days from its official publication in the federal register, expected on March 6, 2020. The rule provides individuals currently subjected to ESDs up to 180 days to transition to another treatment method. The FDA’s final rule can be read here.