Unpacking the Animals on Drugs Science in ‘Cocaine Bear’ With a Neuroscientist

The first two months of the movie season each year are usually reserved for less-than-pristine fare. However, this month ends with a bang (and a snort) with the Universal Pictures film Cocaine Bear. The title isn’t there to trick you. It is exactly as it sounds: A bear in this movie does cocaine. And then people deal with said bear. 

The film, hitting theaters Friday, Feb. 24, is directed by Elizabeth Banks and is somewhat inspired by a true story of a bear—nicknamed Pablo Escobear—who was found dead of a cocaine overdose in Georgia after smugglers dropped bags containing the drug in the wild. The film’s premise offers a rather unique problem for its characters, including drug smuggler Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), and a ragtag crew of wildlife explorers and enforcement officers played by Keri Russell; Isiah Whitlock Jr.; the late, great Ray Liotta; and more. They all must contend with the coke-fueled bear as it goes on a killing rampage after it ingests a duffel bag of cocaine.

Cocaine Bear InterviewImage via Universal Pictures

But what would really happen if a bear did do some lines? Complex got in touch with comedian Jono Zalay. While pursuing standup in Boston, Zalay also earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Boston University so he knows a thing or two about these things.

Complex consulted the neuroscientist-turned-comedian for his insight ahead of the movie’s release, and he broke down his experience with administering drugs to animals like rats and what they could potentially do to an actual bear. Read our conversation about the effects drugs can have on animals below.


What do you think?

Written by Ethiotime1

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