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May 23rd 2000 - 10:45 p.m. BST

No Whitewash From The White House

Sharon Kilday from the Oldham ADHD Family Support Group got a nice surprise the other day, a reply to her letter to Hilary Clinton signed by the First Lady herself. Sharon told

"The original letter that I wrote to the first lady was at the end of April this year, I was surfing through the internet when I came across an article addressing ADHD. It was about the First lady holding a meeting with health & education experts, to ensure that children with emotional & behavioural difficulties are appropriately diagnosed, treated, monitored etc.

I wrote to her to ask what her involvement with ADHD children was in particular and this is her reply....



May 2, 2000

Ms. Sharon Kilday
Oldham, Lancashire

Dear Ms. Kilday:

Thank you for expressing interest in the Clinton Administration's work to ensure that children with emotional and behavioral problems get the diagnosis and treatment they need. I was very concerned when I learned of the recent increase in the prescription of stimulants and antidepressants to preschoolers, despite a lack of information about the safety and efficacy of these drugs for young children. As you know, I recently held a meeting with health and education experts to discuss what more we can do to ensure that children with emotional and behavior conditions are appropriately diagnosed, treated, monitored, and managed by qualified professionals.

One of the most important things we can do is give parents of children with emotional and behavioral problems the information they need to help them make the right decisions about their children's treatment for these conditions. That is why the National Institutes of Mental Health (NlMH) developed an information guide for parents on treating young children with emotional and behavioral problems. I am enclosing a copy and hope you find it helpful.

At this recent meeting, I was pleased to announce a series of steps the Administration will take to address our lack of knowledge about the effects of these drugs on our children. NIMH will conduct a landmark study examining attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Ritalin use among preschoolers. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration announced that they will begin a process to determine what dosages are appropriate for very young children and what they can do to improve drug labeling for very young children. Finally, the Office of the Surgeon General will coordinate a national conference to be held this Fall on the treatment of children with behavioral and mental disorders, which will bring together experts from the Administration, parents, advocates, educators, researchers, healthcare professionals and consumers. It will help us develop long term strategies that each of us can use to help young people get the childhood and chance in life that they all deserve.

Thank you again for your concerns about this issue that is so critical to our nation's children.

Sincerely yours,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Sharon continued...."I had written to Tony Blair in Aug 98 to see if my concerns about ADHD could be met. My letter was passed on to Frank Dobson, who did at the time explain about a UK ADHD Alliance.

I am now once again writing to Tony Blair this time to see if the government will fund a National Conference, that will be held here in Oldham/Manchester. I am hoping that this will be free to ALL parents and a crèche facility available.

I am asking parents to come forward and write to me (see address below) on why there should be a conference funded by the government, and their reasons why."

Email Sharon at or write to her at:

ADHD Family Support Group
PO Box 9

Simon Hensby for

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