Fernanda Villalobos says that Adderall was prescribed to her 24-year-old son for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) but he had never suffered from this disorder. She claims that Adderall altered his brain in such a way that he “didn’t know what he was doing”. And he fast became addicted to Adderall.
“David was prescribed Adderall last November  after his doctor ran some tests, at least that is what David told me,” says Fernanda. “I know this drug works well on those who need it but for anyone who doesn’t it can be fatal - and David should never have been prescribed Adderall in the first place.
"He lost weight and he wasn’t sleeping - he didn’t live at home but I could tell by his emails. David said he wasn’t taking too much Adderall on a daily basis but I could tell he was almost manic depressive; he had never sounded like this before taking the drug.”
Fernanda first knew something was seriously wrong with her son in April 2012, when she picked him up from the train station. David asked if he could stay with his parents for a while, until he got settled. A few months before that, her niece already set off an alarm bell. “My niece was crying when she saw David because he had lost so much weight,” says Fernanda. “David told her it was because he was a healthy vegan now, but it was like he was in another world.“
Back with his parents, David was distressed and anxious. “Adderall affected his concentration and he had no interest in taking care of his daily routine,” Fernanda explains. “Sometimes he wouldn’t even bathe. And I was worrying about my 16-year-old seeing his older brother acting so weird. Their roles became reversed as my youngest tried to take care of his older brother.
"David’s behavior was a surprise to us. He was always interested in animals and we brought him up as a Christian, but Adderall changed his way of thinking. We don’t fully understand why he jumped into the tiger den and I don’t think David understands either, but there is an explanation, and I want this to be said in the courtroom: David said the voices told him to jump in. He also told me that he had been planning this for about a year, coincidentally when he first started taking the Adderall.”
That fateful day, David was rushed to hospital from the Bronx zoo in critical condition. His right foot and left leg had been mauled, and he was bitten on the back, where a fang punctured his lung. He had his foot amputated and has undergone a series of operations since. David is currently in a nursing home getting physical therapy and is due for another surgery.
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Fernanda says that just one month before the zoo incident, David’s doctor gave him two prescriptions of Adderall - 180 pills in total.
“After what he did in the zoo, I spent almost $100 and got David’s medical records,” Fernanda says. “Nowhere does it say that he is a psychiatric patient. He was treated by the trauma team and the orthopedic team for his medical conditions only.” Fernanda adds that David has now been approved for social security benefits. After what he did there is no question about his mental health that spiraled out of control about the same time that he started taking Adderall.