Important follow-up on “Prescribing of ADHD stimulants has soared in B.C., agency warns”

CADDAC National Director

This past weekend an important opinion piece, written by several prominent BC ADHD experts was published in “The Province”, a daily newspaper published in BC.

The piece entitled, “Opinion: ADHD is a real brain disorder requiring treatment, despite what some say” opens with a request that BC medical colleagues demand that the Therapeutics Initiative, which is government funded in the amount of 10 million dollars, be de-funded again. The opinion piece goes on to state that the report, or therapeutics letter,  created by unnamed experts, most likely none of which are paediatricians or psychiatrists, cherry-picked research and grossly misrepresented ADHD evidence to support their ill-intentioned claims and prejudices. The ADHD experts equates the Therapeutic Initiative’s report, which questions the safety and validity of ADHD treatment, to a psychiatric version of the vaccination debate.

The comment piece outlines the abundance of current ADHD research and the impact of untreated ADHD and states that, “The increased use of ADHD medication in BC is heartening because it suggests that more children are being diagnosed and treated. However, with only four per cent of B.C. children receiving treatment, ADHD is still under-diagnosed and often goes untreated.” While the piece points out that medication is not required by everyone with ADHD, it also states that large review studies have shown and continue to show the benefits of treating ADHD with medication. Furthermore, these medications have been prescribed for more than 80 years.

It is extremely disheartening for those of us who work in the field of ADHD and for those who themselves have ADHD or family members affected by this disorder to be required to continually justify the diagnosis and treatment of a medical disorder that has been proven to be significant and real. What is even more worrisome is that the type of report published by the Therapeutics Initiative, which according to the ADHD experts would never have been published in a legitimate medical journal, was put out by the media only furthering the misinformation on ADHD.

The only way to stop this type of misinformation from continuing to be spread by the media with a goal of sensationalism is for those of us in the field and those impacted by ADHD to speak up.

Therefore, CADDAC sincerely congratulates and thanks these physicians, Drs. Diane McIntosh, BSc Pharmacy, MD, FRCPC, psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor, UBC; Derryck Smith, MD, FRCPC, psychiatrist and professor emeritus, UBC; Don Duncan, MD, FRCPC, psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor, UBC, clinical director, B.C. Interior ADHD Clinic; Dorothy Reddy, BSc, MD, FRCPC, research fellow, psychiatrist; Julia Hunter, BSc, MSc, MD, FRCPC, psychiatrist, for speaking out.

CADDAC strongly encourages families and adults impacted by ADHD to send a letter to the editor of any publication that furthers the spread of misinformation about ADHD, even when it is an opinion piece.  The test that I use when reviewing an article on ADHD is to question whether the same bias and questioning about the validity of the disorder would occur if the mental disorder being discussed was depression.

Heidi Bernhardt


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