Dr Martin Whitely, is a former Western Australian (WA) politician (2001- 2013) and former high school teacher (1995-2001) who has had unprecedented success tackling the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Industry.
Martin has written a book titled Speed Up and Sit Still – the controversies of ADHD diagnosis and treatment (UWA Publishing 2010) and in March 2014 completed his PhD Thesis ADHD Policy, Practice and Regulatory Capture in Australia 1992-2012 (Curtin University – John Curtin Institute of Public Policy). A copy of the thesis is available at Martin Whitely PhD Thesis Copy – ADHD and Regulatory Capture in Australia PDF
Martin’s involvement in the ADHD debate
Martin first became concerned about ADHD child drugging in the mid 1990s. He was alarmed at the number of boys in his class who were medicated for ADHD but were unnaturally quiet and compliant. Even before he was elected to the Western Australia State Parliament in 2001, Martin was campaigning to stop child drugging and to ensure children with learning and behavioural difficulties had their real needs met.
Martin describes himself as a disorganised, forgetful, daydreamer who fits the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. However, Martin does not consider himself disordered or diseased. He feels lucky to have be born before his personality type became all too frequently labelled as a disability, warranting biochemical intervention.
When he was elected to the West Australian Parliament in 2001 Perth’s ADHD prescribing rates were amongst the highest in the world. His advocacy slashed Western Australian child ADHD stimulant prescribing rates in half betwween 2002 and 2010 and in the process slashed WA teenage amphetamine abuse rates by 51% (Refer to the Rise and Fall of Child ADHD in WA).
However, Martin’s success has been isolated to Western Australia. Across the globe, the ADHD Industry has been incredibly successful at expanding its markets. The Industry has created a sense of panic about ordinary childhood behaviours like fidgeting and failing to sit still. They have re-branded dangerous addictive amphetamines (Speed) like Dexamphetamine and Ritalin, and a failed antidepressant, Strattera, to pursue a thinly disguised profit driven agenda.
As a result millions of parents have been scared into ‘medicating’ their children in order to prevent imagined disastrous education and life outcomes. However, Perth’s ADHD story offers hope that with common sense and leadership children can have a future where difference is regarded as a strength, not a disorder, and children with problems will have their real needs met. It shows we can do better for our children than simply drugging them so that they “Speed Up and Sit Still.”
Statement regarding Martin’s (lack of) commercial and religious affiliations
Martin’s advocacy on ADHD is motivated solely by his experience as a teacher, parent and politician. He has no commercial interests in ADHD treatments or products. Martin communicates with a diverse range of anti-ADHD child drugging allies, however, other than Drug Free Attention Difficulties Support Inc (DFADS), Martin is not a member of any organisations with any interest in ADHD.
DFADS is a Western Australian not for profit support group for parents of children with behavioral and attentional difficulties. DFADS does not accept funding or donations from any businesses offering any form of treatment for ADHD or any behavioural or learning difficulties. DFADS has no association with any religious organisations. Any profits from the sale of the book Speed Up & Sit Still when it is published have been donated by Martin to DFADS.
Despite internet reports to the contrary Martin Whitely is not a Scientologist. While Martin is not, and never has been, a devotee or follower of any religion, or a member of any organisation associated with any religion, he respects the right of individuals to their own religious beliefs.
Books and Book Chapters
- Martin Whitely, 2010. Speed Up and Sit Still; the controversies of ADHD diagnosis and treatment, UWA Publishing.
- Martin Whitely, ‘Chapter 9 – ADHD: How a Lie ‘Medicated’ Often Enough Became the Truth’ in Ewen Speed, Joanna Moncrieff and Mark Rapley, eds., De-Medicalizing Misery II: Society, Politics and the Mental Health Industry, Palgrave Macmillan (2014).
- Martin Whitely, 2012. The rise and fall of child ADHD prescribing in Western Australia; lessons and implication, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. http://anp.sagepub.com/content/46/5/400.extract
- Martin Whitely, 2013. ADHD debate clouded by preconceptions and hidden conflicts of interest, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, September 2013. http://anp.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/07/25/0004867413498270.extract
- Martin Whitely and Melissa Raven, 2012. The risk that DSM-5 will result in a misallocation of scarce resources, Current Psychiatry Reviews, Bentham Science. http://www.eurekaselect.com/103772/article
- Martin Whitely, 2012. Will the backlash against DSM5 be the downward tipping point for international ADHD prescribing rates? Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Policy Papers and Submissions
- Health Consumers’ Council of WA submission to the Senate Select Inquiry into Health, (Licensing and Subsidising Pharmaceuticals in Australia – Reforms needed to deliver Transparency, Safety and Value for Money) September 2014 http://www.hconc.org.au/couch/uploads/file/hcc-senate-submission-on-pbs-tga-tranparency-reform-september-2014.pdf)
- A submission to Members of the Western Australian Legislative Council on the Mental Health Bill 2013 prepared on behalf of eight non-government organisations operating in the community mental health sector. (May 2014) http://www.comhwa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Joint-Mental-Health-NGO-submission-to-LC-on-MHB-2013.pdf