An incendiary article ...

An incendiary article …

Did that title grab you?

A headline article in last Friday’s Toronto Star sent me into a fury that has left me fuming. I’ve written reams of words that seem saturated with potassium nitrate. I’ve ignited them with the sparks flying from my synapses into a flame of sulphuric passion. I’ve filled pages with incendiary sentences and ballistic paragraphs with smart target technology aimed at the folly I’ve perceived in this article and its supporting articles.

… and I’ve erased them all.

I am a believer in the quiet voice being heard. If you want proof of this theory, approach a child who has no preconceived opinion of you and talk quietly to them. They will lean in to hear. They will ask questions. They will be curious if you speak respectfully and informatively.

So, I deleted my acidic text and chose to give this explanation along with the following items of information ….

The article I’m angered about is here:

Ottawa keeps ADHD reports secret

The problems I have with it are these:

  • The headline indicates the existence of reports on ADHD, no such reports are discussed or even mentioned again.
  • The first paragraph then talks of “detailed probes” into ADHD drugs, but these turn out to be common reports from drug companies that have not been seen by the writer of the article. The phrase “detailed probes” makes the reports sound like they were created by people who are looking into a serious problem when in fact the documents are standard reports done for every drug legally sold here in Canada.
  • The article goes on to discuss suicides and attempted suicides among children taking ADHD medication, but they make no mention of the same statistics for children who are not taking these medications. Would the writer like to go on record as saying that suicide and attempted suicide is only relevant if the person who attempted it, successfully or not, is taking ADHD medication?
  • The Toronto Star is guilty, in my humble opinion, of fear mongering where it should be educating.

The explanation is here:

The truth here is that a reporter found out that drug companies make reports to Health Canada which are not given out to the public. That reporter published this very benign story couched in drama, false logic, and misleading terminology in order to sell papers and grab headlines. The story is: Drug companies report on safety to the government on a semi annual basis in order to safeguard the public. The system seems to be working but attempts to make it more reliable would probably be a good thing.

What do I say?

[…] I’m embarrassed, as a journalist, to be considered a contemporary of the persons who wrote, edited and published this story.

My response to this article is that I’m embarrassed, as a journalist, to be considered a contemporary of the persons who wrote, edited and published this story. I’m also saddened by the fact that this sensationalism will do nothing but damage to the reputation that has been built up around the mental health profession. It also potentially will erode the inroads we’ve made toward ADHD and its treatment becoming accepted as a commonality of life.

So with my small voice I’m telling the world:

Do not let this sad bit of “dramalism” sway you from accepting the known facts regarding ADHD and its treatment.



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From Psych Central's website:
ADHD Awareness Week, What That Means To Me | ADHD Man of Distraction (October 19, 2012)

    Last reviewed: 8 Oct 2012

APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2012). Toronto Star Reports: “Ottawa keeps ADHD reports secret”. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 1, 2015, from


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