Ever since the B.C. Liberal government shut down the only provincial adult clinic for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Pete Quily has been raising concerns.
Quily, a Vancouver-based adult ADHD coach, has made it his mission to spread greater understanding about this neurobehavioural condition.
He knows of which he speaks. In his early 30s, he concluded that he had the disorder.
It's characterized by having an ability to concentrate intensely on what interests him, but to fade out for sustained periods for tasks that fail to attract his attention.
Often, people with ADHD have low self-esteem, are extremely sensitive to those around them, and have a great sense of humour, but they often want to defy authority.
Quily, a prolific blogger and user of social media, recent wrote a post offering a theory into why the B.C. Liberal government killed the adult ADHD clinic at B.C. Children's Hospital in 2007.
According to him, it was the easiest way to put an end to an embarrassing 12- to 14-month waitlist.
Quily tried at the time to get the NDP health critic, Adrian Dix, to commit to reopening the facility. In the end, Quily writes, all he received was "a lot of empty promises and nothing in the end".
"I’ve asked Adrian Dix and other BC NDP candidates on twitter during the BC May 2013 provincial election if they’d reopen the BC adult ADHD clinic," he writes in his post. "Got no response."
He also asked Christy Clark at a town-hall meeting in May 2011 if she would reopen the adult ADHD clinic.
“I don’t have enough information about the specifics of the program that you’re talking about, but I’m absolutely committed to working with you on it,” Clark replied, according to Quily.
He added that Clark ended up doing absolutely nothing.
"Maybe I need to make a big donation to the BC NDP or the BC Liberals to get their attention, but I don’t have a big union or big business budget and can’t afford to hire expensive lobbyists to rent access to BC NDP or BC Liberal politicians," he writes.
But curiously, he has received positive responses from the B.C. Conservatives and the B.C. Greens.
John Cummins, the B.C. Conservative leader, simply said: "We should reopen it."
According to the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance, ADHD "is the most common psychiatric disorder of childhood affecting 5-12% of school-aged children".
Vancouver physician Gabor Maté wrote a brilliant book about ADHD a few years ago called Scattered Minds: A New Look at the Origins and Healing Of Attention Deficit Disorder.
In it, he explained why this disorder is sometimes linked to addictive behaviour.
Children with the condition are more likely to suffer major injuries, more likey to be hospital inpatients and outpatients, and more likely to visit the emergency room. This was reported in a 2001 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology pegged the estimated annual cost of illness for ADHD at between $36 billion and $52.4 billion for children and adolescents.
Given the seriousness of the issue, it's surprising that both major provincial parties would give Quily the runaround.
We could attribute it to the politicians' ignorance. But it's just as likely that Quily is right when he says that ADHD will only get noticed when people with the disorder start making large campaign contributions.