If you're a parent of a child with behavioural problems you could be in for a rude shock.
Changes to our mental health act passed by both houses of Parliament comes into force in 2010 and it will give doctors, psychiatrists, even police carte blanche powers to detain your child.
Independent MP and drug treatment reformer Ann Bressington tried to intervene in the legislative council with amendments to this bill but the government was having none of that.
“I basically met with the minister and was told that those amendments wouldn't be supported …..most of my amendments were around the prescription of A.D.D…. ADHD medications to children younger than twelve …and was told that was an issue for the controlled substances act," says Ann.
We're not talking about cold war Russia here..... we're talking about South Australia.
“I don't think people grasp the enormity of what the consequences of this bill could be for them," says Ann.
Lillian Reekie is the author of "The revolting child - a blessing in disguise" which explores other ways to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder other than with drugs like Ritalin, which she refused to give to her own son Caleb.
So instead of Caleb ending up a ritalin kid, Lillian looked to the food he was eating.
“We've been working very, very hard with him over the years with diet, with nutrition, topped with positive attitude and so forth and we've had some great results. I think it could be a lot worse right now if we had of taken a different approach," says Lillian.
The trouble is, according to the experts, the tag ADHD is slapped on kids all too quickly these days.
Sue Dengate is an expert on the effects of food chemicals on children's behaviour and says the jury is in when it comes to ADHD.
“I think that there can be many reasons for bad behaviour but I think that one of the reasons you've got to look at first is the effects of foods," says Sue.
And the culprit can be food colours and preservatives, something you may already know but what you probably don't know is the food companies are now using smoke and mirrors to disguise the additives.
“Food manufacturers are aiming towards producing food that's got what they call clean label… no nasty numbers on it ...but it can still affect childrens behaviour and parents have no idea," says Sue.
No numbers mean we are none the wiser.
“Food is worth billions of dollars and that's the priority here in Australia at the moment, to protect the food industry at the expense of the consumers," says Sue.
And Sue says she has inside information that the strings are being pulled from Canberra.
"Ahhhh…. well I've been told unofficially by somebody at our food regulator …she said ……the food industry has powerful friends in Canberra ….we are afraid for our jobs ….that gives you some idea of what's going on doesn't it," says Sue.
Meanwhile for South Australian parents, big brother could take that problem child off your hands in 2010.
“Some kids that are diagnosed with ADHD could end up being snared by this government net......absolutely!!,” says Ann.
Mental Health Minister Jane Lomax-Smith declined to be interviewed, however Health SA's Dr Margaret Honeyman says she can't understand why Ann Bressington would make these comments.... and that existing legislation will protect children.
“Were going to have more and more kids drugged out on these amphetamines and anti depressants and it’s not the way we want to go. We don't want a future of children…. drugged out children," says Lillian.
“The act actually means that they can by law now detain your child …they can take your child away without your permission, without your consent. They can actually put them in a hospital, they can medicate your child, they can actually restrain your child," says Lillian.
The act states that treatment may be given despite the absence or refusal of consent to the treatment which effectively means that under these rules children as young as four can be taken by force.......drugged.....and even worse!!!
“Electric shock could cause memory loss …it could cause brain damage ….and in worst case scenarios it could cause death," says Lillian.
On the use of shock treatment on children, Dr Honeyman says one person ...a seventeen year old has had ECT treatment in the last five years but that's no comfort to South Australian parents.
Lillian Reekie's book "The revollting child - a blessing in disguise" is available by calling: 0418 393 298
or via mail at: 23 Riversleigh Cres. Eatons Hill, Qld 4037