A few weeks ago, the reboot of the hit 90s TV sitcom “Roseanne” was cancelled after its star, Roseanne Barr, tweeted offensive, racist comments on Twitter. After the incident, the comedian claimed that her behavior was a side effect of having taken the common sleep aid, Ambien. The drug’s manufacturers denied the claim, pointing out that no drug causes racism.
While the link between a sleep aid and racist sentiment may be a stretch, the claim that Ambien may cause a patient to unwittingly post on social media could hold water. In today’s post, we examine some of the serious side effects of the world’s most popular sleep aid.
The possible ramifications of Ambien
Ambien is a sedative-hypnotic drug. It is highly effective at helping patients to fall asleep, and its generic version—Zolpidem—is affordable, making the drug accessible to much of the population. However, the drug also has serious risks. According to its warning label, “[a]fter taking AMBIEN, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night.”
It is these activities that patients can do in a hypnotic, unconscious state that are potentially disastrous. Patients may get out of bed and eat large amounts of substances—not necessarily even food. In more serious cases, patients have unwittingly committed crimes while in a sleep-walking state. There have been numerous reports of patients sleep-driving and injuring or killing innocent bystanders. Some patients on Ambien have sexually assaulted or abused others without realizing it.
Imagine going to sleep one night and waking up to find that you’ve been arrested, charged with assault or manslaughter—and having no memory of these events. It’s a terrifying prospect. If you’ve been charged with a crime committed while under the influence of Ambien, your case is uniquely complex. It’s important to find a criminal defense attorney who can create the right nuanced defense for your situation.