Mom Slips 6-Year-Old Adderall As An ‘Experiment’

shutterstock_156788336__1383501619_142.196.156.251A 39-year-old Florida mom was arrested for slipping Adderall into her son’s yogurt and emailing a teacher to ask her to report on his behavior. She was just curious to see what 5mg of a drug combining amphetamine and dextroamphetamine would do to him. No big. You generally need a doctor to prescribe these things – buy why worry about that?

“I tried something today,” 39-year-old Heather McAuliffe wrote to the teacher early Wednesday, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. “I gave [my son] 5 milligrams of my Adderall just to see if there is a noticeable difference. He does not know because I crushed it up in his yogurt.”

She continued her message by asking the teacher, whose name was not included in the report, to email her later with information on any changes in the child, and ended with a thank you. The boy is in first grade at an undisclosed school.

I’m probably having an even harder time understanding this than most people would. I’m one of those moms that gets paranoid whenever she gives her child medication. I check the dosage instructions about 40 times and keep a time log so I don’t forget the last dose. The thought of slipping medication into my young child’s yogurt and then sending him to school makes me twitch.

The mother is facing chid abuse charges because “her decision to give her 6-year-old son a controlled drug without a prescription could have caused him physical injury, violating state child abuse laws.”

In Palm Beach county, teachers are required by state law to report any indication of child abuse. Clearly slipping a 6-year-old prescription drugs is troubling enough to qualify. It seems the mother didn’t realize she was doing anything wrong, which scares me even more. Can you imagine? Hi Ms. Brown! It’s Ms. Guido. I crushed up a little Xanax and put it in my son’s PB&J because he’s been a little testy lately. Let me know if this works out for you. It’s been working great at home!

Palm Beach County School District spokesman Owen Torres said the boy’s teacher “did the right thing” by putting the matter in authorities’ hands: ”I don’t know what the circumstances are, but if the kid was not prescribed this, obviously the teacher had a right to notify proper authorities to do an investigation.”

(photo: dachazworks/ Shutterstock)

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    • Blueathena623

      No. No no no no no. First of all, if you honestly thought your 6 year old boy has ADD or ADHD, you take him to the pediatrician and, if it were me, ask for a referral to a pediatric psychiatrist. But my guess is that unless there were huge huge warning signs, this kid is probably just a 6 year old boy. Which means she gave him amphetamines and sent him to school. Poor kid, poor teacher, stupid mom.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      What an awful woman. I feel so bad for that child.

    • Emil

      I think this happens a lot more than we would like to think, many people are way too lax about these medications and think nothing of doing something like this. I give credit to the teacher that reported this.

    • Emil

      I think this happens a lot more than we would like to think, many people are way too lax about these medications and think nothing of doing something like this. I give credit to the teacher that reported this.

    • Emil

      I think this happens a lot more than we would like to think, many people are way too lax about these medications and think nothing of doing something like this. I give credit to the teacher that reported this.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Agreed, and even when it’s the kid’s prescription, there are a lot of parents tinkering around with the doses/times/etc. in ways that should be approved by a doctor.

      • EX

        I was going to say the same thing. Of course it’s terrible that this happened, but I’m honestly surprised this made the news. It happens a lot. The only thing that makes this story somewhat surprising is how oblivious this mother was to the fact that she was doing anything wrong.

      • Emil

        I was surprised that she got arrested. Physicians can talk until their blue in the face about how it is illegal to divert controlled substances but people aren’t going to believe them until they hear about someone getting charged with a crime. What I would love to see are some consequences for college students who sell their Adderall. That happens all the time but I don’t know of anyone who has gotten arrested for it.

    • CrazyLogic

      Am I the only child in the world who was sat down and had the diagnosis I got explained to me, the medication explained to me, the hopeful result of taking the medication would have on my schoolwork and the possible side effects of the medication explained to me, and then asked if I wanted to try the medication?

      Hell, was I the only child in the world who was asked at all?

      • NicknamesAreDull

        Nope! My mom explained things to me and I had a (reasonable) say in the matter.

      • CrazyLogic

        Good! Faith in humanity restored a bit.

        I was told over and over again that if I didn’t want my meds, I was allowed to go off them…however I would have to go to the doctor first because sometimes you need to keep taking the meds less and less until you don’t take them anymore.

      • Alicia Kiner

        We have had lots of talk with our son about his meds too. But until a certain point, he’s too young to make the choice for himself. When he is, we will help him make the best choice for him

      • Mikster

        Nope- you ought to see my son with his pulmonologist- asks a ton of questions!
        And both he and I (and my husband) encourage him to ask as much as he can.

      • jessica

        That’s great! Your son is going to have to advocate for himself and make choices regarding his health for a long, long time when he is an adult so I think it’s awesome that you and your husband are encouraging him to start now.

      • Mikster

        That’s exactly how we see it- this is going to be his health issue and he needs to learn the skills to navigating his health care plan and options- but of course with our oversight and guidance with his medical team!

      • Emil

        Even if it was prescribed, secretly slipping a psychotropic medication to an unknowing child is unethical in my book. It is one thing to do this with an antibiotic and a very young child but with psychiatric medications there should always be a discussion using child appropriate language. Glad your physician/parents understood this.

      • CrazyLogic

        My family actually got flack for it when someone found out. I was eight and it was ADHD meds, but my case was extremely severe. As in I couldn’t get five questions in on those damned speed math tests…

      • CrazyLogic

        My family actually got flack for it when someone found out. I was eight and it was ADHD meds, but my case was extremely severe. As in I couldn’t get five questions in on those damned speed math tests…

    • Muggle

      ADHD medication can have some horrible effects. I realize that this is NOT a universal thing, but I had to have my medication changed and eventually stopped because it took such a toll on my mental health. I had zero appetite and trouble staying awake as well.

      If I ever go back to meds I would NEVER slip any to a child! That’s absolutely evil in my book. If you suspect a child has ADHD, take him or her to a doctor. If you don’t seriously suspect it but use it as some awful hybrid of an excuse and a joke, GO FUCK YOURSELF.

    • keelhaulrose

      Just because you take a medication doesn’t mean that means it’ll effect your kid the same way as it effects you. There’s a reason you’re supposed to get a prescription from a doctor. Making sure it won’t make him sick on Web M.D. doesn’t mean you can freely give it to him. Google does not give out medical licenses, even if it’s the most consulted physician in America.

    • Evelyn

      I suspect that if the mum had adderall it was because it was prescribed to her, and therefore she had some kind of issues going on that affected her own judgement. That is no excuse, of course, and giving the medicine to her child without any kind of discussion with his own doctor is very dangerous.

      • waffre

        If that’s the case then she’s also suffering from acute stupidity. The type of ADHD that I have often makes me do things without thinking them through, but I would never never do something like this, because having taken the medication myself, I know exactly why it’s prescription-only (I stopped taking stimulant-based meds because of the side-effects). I think it’s probably more likely what Angela said: the family is uninsured or underinsured, and acquired the Adderall illegally.

    • Angela

      I think this is incredibly sad (not to mention dangerous) but as someone who works in healthcare I see this happen quite a bit. The reason almost always is that people don’t have insurance. They can’t afford to see a doctor or child psychiatrist but they can afford to to buy some meds from a local college student (adderall and anti-depressants are fairly easy to obtain). They feel really guilty but they’re desperate (and often it’s the schools putting the pressure on them to just medicate the kid already). I don’t know the circumstances here but I do feel like if we had better access to healthcare and mental health services there wouldn’t be nearly so many parents who feel backed into corners.

      • SusannahJoy

        I get that, I really do. I know how helpless some parents must feel when there’s something wrong and they don’t have the finances to fix it. But giving a child a psychiatric medicine like that is sooo dangerous! Suicidal thoughts are terrifyingly common when drugs like that are given to kids, which is why they HAVE to be monitored by a doctor.

      • Angela

        Absolutely! I guess that my point is that I think it think it’s more productive to help rather than to judge in cases like this.

      • SusannahJoy

        But… judging is so much easier… and more fun!

        No really, I do agree, we need to be doing something to help people in that situation. I just don’t know what.

      • SusannahJoy

        But… judging is so much easier… and more fun!

        No really, I do agree, we need to be doing something to help people in that situation. I just don’t know what.

      • Angela

        I think that every child in this country should have access to healthcare and mental health services. If they did I think that situations like this would be extremely rare.

    • Mikster

      Wow! That is scary!

    • Mikster

      Wow! That is scary!

    • Autumn

      As a special ed teacher, I’ve seen parents mess with meds way too much. This year, a parent intentionally messed with her child’s medicine to cause him to perform poorly at school because she was mad about some changes we had proposed. Her kid is a talker though, so we were able to figure out what was up pretty quickly. I’ve also had parents who take their child’s medicine themselves & parents who give whatever dosage they want whenever they want. It’s lovely.

    • Autumn

      As a special ed teacher, I’ve seen parents mess with meds way too much. This year, a parent intentionally messed with her child’s medicine to cause him to perform poorly at school because she was mad about some changes we had proposed. Her kid is a talker though, so we were able to figure out what was up pretty quickly. I’ve also had parents who take their child’s medicine themselves & parents who give whatever dosage they want whenever they want. It’s lovely.

      • Diana

        Dont forget parents who does their kids with their own meds to keep them quiet.

      • Autumn

        Fortunately, I haven’t had this situation yet, but I’m sure I will eventually :(

    • brebay

      5 milligrams is nothing, a starter dose is 20. Lighten up people, benadryl is more dangerous than 5 mg of adderall.

      • EX

        20 mg is not the starting dose for a 6 year old.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      If this woman is facing child abuse charges, that could mean jail time. I hope the end result is parenting classes and not prison. If she’s otherwise well-meaning and loving, but simply uneducated, then hopefully this is a fixable issue.

      • Cliff

        Anyone who would put their child’s health in danger just to see what happens is in need of more than parenting classes.

      • Cliff

        Anyone who would put their child’s health in danger just to see what happens is in need of more than parenting classes.

      • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

        Children whose mothers wind up in jail don’t tend to fare well. It can be traumatic for all. If there is a way to get this mom on track without splitting the family, I’d be in favour of that, providing there are no other concerns.
        My guess is she’s uneducated. She sent the child in with a note explaining what she did. If she was abusive, she’d be hiding her behaviour, not broadcasting it to the school. This seems like pure ignorance. Ignorance has a cure: education.

    • marge

      I know a bipolar woman who was dosing her 3 year old with her Seroquil for ‘mood swings’ because ‘she’s so like her mommy’. I wonder why some parents are so desperate for their kids to be as sick as them?

    • marge

      I know a bipolar woman who was dosing her 3 year old with her Seroquil for ‘mood swings’ because ‘she’s so like her mommy’. I wonder why some parents are so desperate for their kids to be as sick as them?

    • marge

      I know a bipolar woman who was dosing her 3 year old with her Seroquil for ‘mood swings’ because ‘she’s so like her mommy’. I wonder why some parents are so desperate for their kids to be as sick as them?

      • NeuroNerd

        Munchausen by proxy.

        Or, because they can medicate the kids into sedation.

      • AugustW

        At a low enough dose, its a sleeping pill. As in, better be in bed 20 minutes after you’ve swallowed it or you are sleeping on the floor, kind of sleeping pill.

    • marge

      I know a bipolar woman who was dosing her 3 year old with her Seroquil for ‘mood swings’ because ‘she’s so like her mommy’. I wonder why some parents are so desperate for their kids to be as sick as them?

    • Mariah Grove

      …What the fuck? I wonder what other twisted experiment this woman conducts throughout her day. How could you literally use your child as a guinea pig? Ew.

    • Mariah Grove

      …What the fuck? I wonder what other twisted experiment this woman conducts throughout her day. How could you literally use your child as a guinea pig? Ew.

    • Rachel Sea

      I think it’s clear that she is ignorant and not malicious (if she had a clue how dangerous it was, I can’t imagine she would have ask the teacher to collect data on her experiment). I hope she has to go to a lot of hours of parenting classes, so that it can be safe for her kids to stay with her.

    • Rachel Sea

      I think it’s clear that she is ignorant and not malicious (if she had a clue how dangerous it was, I can’t imagine she would have ask the teacher to collect data on her experiment). I hope she has to go to a lot of hours of parenting classes, so that it can be safe for her kids to stay with her.

    • Copperkroewe

      Wtf?