60. Mefloquine Dispatches: Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones, 27th April 2023
Background: I read the article and didn’t make the connection but a colleague reached out and asked “Is this mefloquine”? So I reread the article. Via The Guardian. Australian man arrested in Indonesia says he felt ‘almost possessed’ during naked rampage. Excerpt:
Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones says he was not himself and felt “almost possessed” during an alleged drunken naked rampage that led to his arrest on an Indonesian island.
The 23-year-old Australian faces up to five years in jail if convicted over the alleged incident on Thursday on Simeulue, within the conservative Aceh province off the coast of Sumatra.
Risby-Jones allegedly emerged without any clothes from Moon Beach Resort and proceeded to chase and strike people on the main village road, according to the Aceh media outlet Bithe.
Shortly before 1am the Noosa man abused a fisherman from the village of Lantik, who suffered serious injuries requiring more than 50 stitches on his heel as well as fractures, Indonesian police told the publication in a written statement.
Name: Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones
Incident Details: 27th April 2023 (aged: 23). Simeulue, Aceh, Indonesia.
Exposure to Anti-Quinolines: To be confirmed.
Conditions witnessed/documented that relate to Quinism: Prodromal symptoms including mania, violence and disassociation. Instant regret after the incident. No documented history of violence.
Confounding Factors: Alcohol (admitted to consuming one vodka prior to the incident). Sunstroke reported the day prior. Was in Aceh to surf because he was ‘depressed’.
OPINION: When I reread this article a couple of points jumped out to me which lead me to question what anti-malarials Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones received. Note: Mefloquine has not been confirmed as at 1st May 2023.
Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones reportedly felt like he was ‘possessed’ when he went on his rampage in Aceh. As he walked from Moon Beach Resort after striking a security guard he would chase and strike people on the main village road. He would eventually knock a local fisherman off his bike and then throw the motorbike on top of the local who would end up hospitalised with 50-stitches and a broken leg.
Prodromal symptoms including psychotic behaviour are an early warning sign of mefloquine toxicity . Dr. Jane Quinn explained the literature already available on this subject during her 2018 testimony into the Use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force. Excerpt from Submission 73:
The Daily Mail article that followed up the original story stated that according ‘to Simeulue police chief detective Mayyuhdi, Risby-Jones was on the surfing trip because ‘he was depressed’. Mefloquine should not be used for people with any mental health issues. The current Center for Disease Control (CDC, USA) fact sheet for Mefloquine states:
One of the biggest surprises is how easily it is to access mefloquine in Australia. My brother just got offerred it for a trip to Nepal in 2023! I’m unsure of the recent usage of mefloquine but the most recent data still shows more than 8,000 Australians used it in 2017.
Final note: I’m sure we will hear more about this case but I’d be suggesting to the family to check Bodhi Mani’s anti-quinoline history.
Medical/MH Note: My opinion is not based on a medical nor mental health background. Just a lived experience former Digger trying to raise awareness on Quinism. Remember, PTSD wasn’t a thing until it was.
Center for Disease Control, United States of American Government. Medicines for the Prevention of Malaria While Traveling: Mefloquine. Accessed 1.05.2023. https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/resources/pdf/fsp/drugs/mefloquine.pdf
Daily Mail. Twist in case of Aussie surfer accused of drunken naked rampage in Indonesia as he faces years in jail. Published 1.05.2023. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12031807/Bodhi-Mani-Risby-Jones-Goat-slaughter-twist-case-Aussie-accused-drunken-Indonesian-rampage.html
Defence Health, Department of Defence, Australian Government. Mefloquine. Accessed 1.05.2023. https://www.defence.gov.au/adf-members-families/health-well-being/services-support-fighting-fit/malaria-mefloquine-adf/malaria/mefloquine
The Guardian. Australian man arrested in Indonesia says he felt ‘almost possessed’ during naked rampage. Published 29.04.2023. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/apr/29/australian-man-arrested-in-indonesia-says-he-felt-almost-possessed-during-naked-rampage
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, Australian Senate. Use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force. Submission 73. Dr Jane Quinn. Published 2018.
Marriott, A. (2022). If you wake at midnight. London, UK. Austin, Macauley.