Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Comment on NY Times article

On December 15th 2013 Alan Schwartz of the NY Times published an extensive piece about "Selling ADHD."  The article in part was based on several interviews with me. Already at least one other interviewee has complained that a quote of his was "taken out of context." This of course is a well-known stratagem of someone who dislikes the implication ascribed to him or her by the reporter. Now some of my close friends have asked whether I really said the things ascribed to me.

Let me respond by saying that the reporter in this case got my quotes exactly right. After a long career in ADHD research and clinical practice I was aware of the importance of what I was about to say and its significance in the field. Moreover, I was impressed with the research and methods being used by Mr. Schwartz.  He began by telling me, "We don't want opinions, we want documents,"
not the "he-said-she-said approach." He made it clear that although he respected my opinion because of my role in the sometimes controversial arena of ADHD diagnosis and treatment, he needed hard evidence, not hearsay.

Moreover, as we talked in several interviews,  I became aware of how extensively Mr. Schwartz had already spoken to key leaders in the field and read many substantive research papers dealing with the prevalence of ADHD and the statistics regarding the explosion of stimulant drug prescriptions. I learned he was unbiased, balanced, and not out to demonise ADHD, Big Pharma, Doctors, or anyone else. Indeed, during that time I became aware that Mr. Schwartz received an award from the American Statistical Society.

However, we did not agree on everything. I was inclined to see the current situation and the opinions of participants in the debate in a historical context involving many factors, whereas Mr. Schwartz was aware of the present status , but limited by the number of words available to him in print. I even suggested that the topic deserved a book to fully understand all of the interconnected influences.  So I could say that everythingin this article is true, but not necessarily the whole truth as I choose to see it.