Anecdotal evidence indicates that too many Western Australian children in the care of the state that are managed rather than cared for. Managed with a range of psychotropic drugs including, antidepressants, anti-psychotics, amphetamines and anti-anxiety ‘medications’ as a cheap substitute for the intensive support they so desperately need.
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The major theme to emerge from the two day forum was that there is a growing body of evidence that the long term use of ADHD medications by children provides no benefits and poses significant risks to growing minds and bodies. Forum participants were also concerned this evidence is being ignored and that the application of the over-simplified, dumbed down, ‘ADHD’ label denies children appropriate individualised responses to their unique circumstances.
The two top priorities identified by the forum were:
1 – The redevelopment of the draft national guidelines on ADHD by a group of mental health experts without commercial ties to the pharmaceutical industry who will ignore commercially tainted evidence and incorporate the emerging evidence of long term harm into their deliberations. (refer to One Year on From the Release of the National ADHD Guidelines)
2 – Urgent action to address the disproportionate use of psychotropic drugs by children in the care of the state (in either foster or institutional care). There is significant evidence that these often previously abused children are being ‘medicated’ with a range of psychotropic drugs as a substitute for safer, more effective, individualised interventions.