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Mother Says Adderall caused Son to Jump into Bronx Zoo Tiger Den

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Putnam County, NYWith headlines like "Zoo-icide" and "Mauled!", the media reported - and the NYPD speculated - that David Villalobos jumped into the tiger den at the Bronx Zoo on September 21 in an apparent suicide attempt. After all, he made the jump from an elevated train. Then, days later, reports came out saying Villalobos did it because he “wanted to be one with the tiger”. David’s mother, however, blames it on the drug Adderall.

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 [2011] 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.

David had been admitted to hospital before September 21st, however. “The reason I am most upset is because the last two times David was hospitalized, last April and May, the hospital staff told David’s primary doctor to stop prescribing Adderall because he didn’t have ADD,” Fernanda says. “He was misdiagnosed - David wasn’t bipolar or manic depressive. But now he was addicted to Adderall.”

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.


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Posted by

i worried about my fam member on this aderil he was percibe this for add and focess energy too doctor stoped see him couldnot get to appinments now no doctor now and become very distance from us we live with newpew very worried about what to do to help himhe donot have the patience to call for a new doctor said i would help him be wants us to do all the work told him he has to be in room to fix this

Posted by

My nephew is going through the same thing. He stays up for days at a time has mood swings and has a lot of anger. My sisters hands are tied because he is over 18. I would like to obtain a lawyer and get as many people as possible to join the suit. I am appalled at the way these doctors give this stuff away like candy. I not only fear for those on Adderall but also for those kids who may cross paths with the kids on it. From what I've read most of the school shooters were on some kind of add or depression medications. We need to fight for our kids and grands children. Please contact me at

Posted by

I agree with F.V.

No offense to Lynn P, but you sound like a Shire Pharmaceutical lawyer.

I took Adderall for 5 years. No money in the world is going to bring back what I lost. I am 25 years old but feel like 75.

Posted by

This is a lethal and debilitating drug.. I will talk with anyone that has a lawyer on board to sue the manufacturers of this medication.

This is my story:

It's 8 months now since the ruin of my husband's motor skills.

Posted by

No, David was not bipolar, and was not drinking either.
And I don't intend to become a billionaire in the account of this misfortune. But I do want the world to know that this medication, Adderall is very dangerous for those individuals that don't need it at all, and take it.
Why must people think that there is a previous condition, or one making a choice to take it? Yes, there is why they are called people that become addictive and try to stop but they can't.
All doctors should request past medical records, especially from a patient's pediatrician if we're talking about ADD.
ADD is usually found at an earlier age, especially at school age, and most people try to have it treated then. And for a doctore just to take a few tests and believe his/her patient to have ADD is absurd and not acceptable.
How would you like for me to give you chocolate when you are allergic to it? It's the same concept, Adderall doesn't work for someone that doesn't have ADD, final!
Obviously you're not a mother, because you would do everything in your power to get your son back, and stop with the cold comments!

Posted by

Adderall may or may not have been the reason for this man's unfortunate behavior. He was being diagnosed as ADD, which may have been a misdiagnosis for bipolar disorder. They can manifest in very similar ways. I know there are probably several lawsuits pending, against the doctors, the pharmaceutical company, and who knows who else, because of this incident. No one forces us to take prescription medications. Everyone knows there can be serious side effects, both behaviorally and physically. As much as I do not like pharmaceuticals, I would like to see consumers taking more responsibility for their own actions. This individual is now on disability, and his mother indicates that the medicine altered his brain. Maybe. But it is my guess that his brain was already having problems before the Adderall. Additionally, I have seen people drink alcohol with this drug and run down the street naked. So, was he drinking at the time as well as taking the medicine? There are too many lawsuits these days, and people try at becoming millionaires just like they do the lottery. The account here is too "consistent" without even keeping an open mind that it could have been from other causes. The lawyers are making a fortune.


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