Adderall Blamed for Leap into Tiger’s Den


The mother of a man charged with trespassing for leaping from a monorail into a tiger’s den at the Bronx Zoo, where he was mauled, says that he had been planning the leap for about year – since he first started taking Adderall.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. This just demonstrates the need to more carefully discern which patients will benefit from stimulants and which ones they will be unhelpful for. “David said the voices told him to.” Anyone who hears voices should probably not be taking stimulants, whether they predated the stimulants or were caused by them. Competent medication management would have detected the existence of voices and terminated the Adderal. And school districts have to be forbidden to require children to be medicated in order to be enrolled. If parents wish to utilize non-medication techniques, they should be free to do so. Schools need to concern themselves more with behavioral *outcomes* than in how those are achieved, and should consider alternative accommodations for “difficult” children rather than forced drugging.

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  2. No mention of what caused him to end up in a psychiatrist’s office.

    These statements seem contradictory to me:

    “We don’t fully understand why he jumped into the tiger den and I don’t think David understands either,” his mother continued, “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.””

    HE planned to do this but then “voices” told him to do it? So did “the voices” plan it a year in advance or did David? Was it David’s own voice that told him to do what he himself supposedly planned on doing anyway?

    “The various effects of Adderall can include bizarre behavior and a warped sense of reality.”

    Question of the day: how do psych drugs produce a specific thought, manage to form an actual plan, and then carry out that plan from thought to fruition? How does THE DRUG do that?

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    • I’m also wondering if it is a sign of organized thought process (to conceive an idea, whatever that idea is, “plan” to do it and finally complete it). Would that be considered a properly functioning mind (even though the value of his act was detrimental)? Why didn’t the drug render him incapable of completing thought to fruition? Something just seems to be too organized.

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