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Report : America’s most popular prescription sleep medication linked to mass shootings

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posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 11:40 PM

A new report describing the bizarre and dangerous side effects of the sleep aid Ambien has once again raised questions about one of the United States’ most popular prescription drugs.

In a story by the Fix, Allison McCabe chronicled the numerous cases in which Ambien has caused individuals to commit unsafe, and sometimes deadly acts.

I cant really say I'm surprised about this new report.

To sum up what exactly Ambien does, it works by activating the neurotransmitter "GABA" and binding it to the "GABA" receptors in the same location as the benzodiazepines, just like Xanax or Valium. Essentially, it slows your brain, making you pass out.

The article goes on to give a few examples of crimes committed by people under the influence of Ambien.

In 2009, 45-year-old Robert Stewart was convicted on eight charges of second-degree murder after he killed eight people in a nursing home. He was originally charged with first-degree murder, but by claiming his tirade was Ambien-induced he was able to have the charges lessened and sentenced to 142-179 years in prison.

In a similar case, Thomas Chester Page of South Carolina was sentenced on five counts of attempted murder despite his claims that Ambien was the cause of a shootout with officers. He received 30 years of prison on each count, to be served concurrently.

In the courtroom, cases related to Ambien use have ranged from shootings to child molestation charges to car accidents. In one such case, flight attendant Julie Ann Bronson from Texas ran over three people – including an 18-month old who suffered from brain damage as a result. When Bronson woke up in jail the next morning, she could barely comprehend what she had done.

I believe Ambien first caught national attention when Patrick Kennedy took Ambien and ended up crashing his car in the middle of the night.

It wasn’t until Patrick Kennedy’s 2006 middle-of-the-night car accident and subsequent explanation to arriving officers that he was running late for a vote that the bizarre side effects of Ambien began to receive national attention. Kennedy claimed that he had taken the sleep aid and had no recollection of the events that night.

Shortly after the Kennedy incident, Ambien users sued Sanofi because of bizarre sleep-eating behaviors while on the drugs. According to Chana Lask, attorney for the class action suit, people were eating things like buttered cigarettes and eggs, complete with the shells, while under the influence of Ambien. Lask called people in this state “Ambien zombies.” As a result of the lawsuit, and of increasing reports coming in about “sleep driving,” the FDA ordered all hypnotics to issue stronger warnings on their labels.

I have to ask, should this drug be taken off the market because of these horrible side effects? I say yes.

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 11:46 PM
reply to post by buni11687

I took Ambien while in Iraq along with Wellbutrin. It wasn't because of PTSD but rather the ongoing conflict I was having with my Commander (personality conflict) and the need to quit smoking. It was a totally miserable time and neither worked.

In fact, it made things worse. Thankfully I recognized it for what it was and stopped both medications. At which point I returned to my normal grumpy self.

But at least I was no longer a raging maniac.
edit on 20-1-2014 by TDawgRex because: Spelling?

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 11:54 PM
reply to post by TDawgRex

I took Ambien about 10 years ago, and only took it a couple of times to help me sleep. (Only about 2-5 times total). It was one of the most horrible experiences.

It did put me to sleep very quickly, but after I woke up, I wouldn't have any memory of waking up and the next couple hours after. One time, I apparently locked myself in the bathroom, passed out face down in the shower, threw up in my parents car, cussed them out, etc... and then my memory started coming back while I was laying in my room. Thank goodness I didn't have my own car back then.

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 11:59 PM
Two Ambien and a beer chaser ... the only way to travel economy class on international flights. Just make sure there are no scheduled layovers. Have you ever felt a psychotic episode coming on when the kids turn the back of a plane into a playground (read that as zoo)? I credit Ambien with prevention rather than cause.

edit on 2112014 by Snarl because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 12:03 AM
reply to post by buni11687

I am not surprised - Ambien is a crazy drug. I took it once while in college to help me sleep at night, and my dreams started getting more and more vivid until I found myself exploring the ruins of an ancient military base and using my skills in electronics to actually put together working circuit boards.

At this point, I started losing track between when I was awake and when I was asleep. At one point, a friend of mine, a star basketball player, asked to try one - I let him, and the next day he told me he was never taking one again -

Of all the things I have taken, Ambien is one of those drugs where I actually got off and actually never got back on. I left it so far in the dust - it wasn't worth it - plus, it made me sleepy during the day as one of the side-effects.
edit on 21amTue, 21 Jan 2014 00:04:58 -0600kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 12:05 AM
reply to post by buni11687

All I remember are some quite vivid dreams and a uncontrollable temper.

I can be a tempermental bastigh at times, But when I realized what those two meds were doing to me, it scared the bejezus out of me. For two weeks, I was a out of controll rage monster.

Thankfully, my Top (who I greatly respected) recogonized the symptoms and steered me in the right direction.

As odd as this sounds, I was moved out of Operations and back into the field where I felt more comfortable leading Soldiers. And away from my Commander (who was relieved eventually).

I gotta be truthful, it's pretty bad when you want to escape into combat just to get away from the boss.

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 12:06 AM

It did put me to sleep very quickly, but after I woke up, I wouldn't have any memory of waking up and the next couple hours after. One time, I apparently locked myself in the bathroom, passed out face down in the shower, threw up in my parents car, cussed them out, etc... and then my memory started coming back while I was laying in my room. Thank goodness I didn't have my own car back then.

Sounds about right... I also experienced memory loss like that. TDawg, definitely vivid dreams over here on my end.
edit on 21amTue, 21 Jan 2014 00:06:49 -0600kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 12:26 AM
You know how if a bartender sells too many drinks to a patron and the patron goes out and kills someone while drunk driving then he can be held responsible? We need the same thing to happen with doctors who hand out these meds like candy. They need to be held responsible for pushing meds to people without considering the consequences nearly to the extent they should.

We've all experienced it. Go to your doctor and complain about this pain or that pain, or about feeling a little down/depressed, whatever the case may be, and with little hesitancy out comes the meds. Prescriptions. Samples. Here you go, try this. Try that. Let me know what works. Here, let me increase the dosage. And on and on.

Hell, I told my doctor a few years ago I was feeling a little down and it was somewhat rare for me to feel that way. Did he ask if anything in my life changed? Getting enough exercise? Stress? Change in diet? Abusing drugs or alcohol? No, didn't ask any of that, he said wait a minute, came back and gave me a sample packet for meds. I went home, read about the side effects which included everything from dizziness to stroke to heart problems to seizures, which of course he neglected to mention and I tossed them before opening the packet. Hey doc, I'd feel a lot more depressed if I had a stroke due to your stupid meds!

There's no accountability anymore. Not for the patient, not for the doctor. Patients are rarely held responsible for their lifestyle and are instead given a quick fix in form of a pill(s). Likewise, doctors aren't held accountable for trying to find root causes and actually solving problems. Instead, they hand out pills to mask the problems, just treat the symptoms.
edit on 21-1-2014 by MysticPearl because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 12:32 AM
they don't call it the "zombie" drug for nothing. I live with someone who takes it. the transformation that occurs a little bit after they take it is astonishing. I call it the "Coup De Gras". But hey, it's prescribed by dedicated "medical" professionals that all work for that trusty individual at 1600 Penn so, it must be safe, right. Just like mercury in tuna fish! yummy !

edit on 1212014 by tencap77 because: spelling

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 12:34 AM
reply to post by MysticPearl

You know how if a bartender sells too many drinks to a patron and the patron goes out and kills someone while drunk driving then he can be held responsible? We need the same thing to happen with doctors who hand out these meds like candy. They need to be held responsible for pushing meds to people without considering the consequences nearly to the extent they should

I totally agree. There's also this in the OP article.

Last year, a report by the Department of Health and Human Services highlighted about 2,200 doctors for suspicious activities such as over-prescribing drugs. More than 700 Medicare doctors were also flagged for issuing what could be seen as “extreme” and potentially harmful prescriptions.

It also links to this article.

In one instance, 24 doctors issued more than 400 prescriptions, including refills, for a single patient, while the average doctor writes about 13 prescriptions per patient, report said.

One doctor from Ohio went overboard in prescribing perceptions for more than a dozen patients. An Illinois doctor was flagged for having his prescriptions filled by 872 pharmacies in 47 states and Guam. In comparison, doctors have their prescriptions filled by 52 pharmacies on average.

One California doctor’s prescriptions cost Medicare $9.7 million – 151 times the cost of prescriptions ordered by an average doctor. The report also revealed that the doctor was supplied by two pharmacies that in the past were labeled as having questionable billing practices by the inspector general, the Washington Post reported.

It's all about money. The more pills they push, the more money there is to be made.

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 01:14 AM
Couple years ago took Ambian for a few months for sleeping difficulties.

One night decided to go for some Chinese, which I didn't eat right away.

Decided to take the ambian before dinner.....................................................Woke up next morning realizing I didn't remember eating last nights General Tsos. Went into kitchen expecting to see an untouched bag of Chinese , found absolutely no evidence of my Chinese dinner anywhere. Got a call next day from my good neighbor next door thanking me , in a slightly uncomfortable way, for dropping off a bag of Chinese at there doorstep the night before, thank God they were close friends.

Careful with that Ambian

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 02:35 AM
I have taken Ambein before. I have a pretty high tolerance for medication and have had insomnia for years. I took it with no problem quite a few times but it didn't work quite as well as I thought it should. I decided to double up the dose (yes I know). I woke up the next afternoon with my husband telling me "Thanks for leaving puke in the floor for me to clean up before you went to bed". I said WHAT??? I would never do that! He was not happy and I can't blame him. I thought for hours how in the world that happened when I started to vaguely remember choking on a chocolate chip cookie. That's all I could remember then and now.

At the time I worked at Wal-Mart. I had bought the cookies on break and left them in the car when I got home that morning. SO I had walked out to the car, got the cookies, and apparently choked while I was eating them to the point of becoming physically sick. I am lucky I didn't aspirate on the stupid cookie.

Needless to say that scared the crap out of me. That was the LAST time I took it. Granted I did double up when I shouldn't have, but I read stuff like this all the time that happened to folks who didn't double up.

It's scary to think about doing things you don't remember. I could have very well gotten in the car and drove down the road like that and maybe I did and don't remember it.... either way... that was enough for me.

I think it is dangerous as too many people have issues when taking it.

ETA - That I did remember the Patrick Kennedy incident and I recalled thinking that his ambien excuse was full of shiite. After my incident I felt really bad about ASSuming he was a liar. Lesson learned on that one.
edit on 1/21/2014 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 02:54 AM
My ex-sister-in-law was prescribed Ambien as a last resort for depression-related insomnia (it was getting pretty bad) I lived with her & my brother for a while at the time, and saw the results of two doses of it. Zombified people trying to cook a full meal in the middle of the night is a little creepy. Asking WTF they're doing at that hour and getting a blank stare and an uber-creepy "I don't know..." answer is even more unsettling. The next day, she had ZERO clue she'd ever been in the kitchen at all, let alone that she'd had the stove going.

I've never taken the stuff. Up until watching my ex-sister-in-law's behavior on it, I'd been curious. Not interested in ever taking it, nope. Zombie blackouts are not appealing to me.
edit on 1/21/2014 by Nyiah because: (no reason given)

edit on 1/21/2014 by Nyiah because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 03:12 AM
Well I can tell you that I have no problems with it, as I take one every day for sleep and have never had a bad episode.

In fact I have been taking it for the past year, and must say it helps me to sleep right nice as long as you take it the way it is prescribed.

I take one about an hour before bedtime and I have a good nights rest where I am refreshed and ready to go the next day, and that is usually about 6 to 7 hours of sleep a night.

You may hear horror stories about Ambien, but a majority of the people that take it have no problems, or at least the one's I know that take it.

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 04:13 AM
I worked in pharmacy for 2 years. Its crazy how many people are on this. Most the pharmacist were too. Common thing i saw was the ADD med when you wake up and the sleeping pill to end it. And those were filled every month, whereas the BP meds or anything maintenance gets pushed back. And stores don't even carry enough maintenance meds to account for if a new rx comes in (while constantly pushing for increase script count by 12 %) That would be over inventory, so when some one comes in to get started on the new meds they have to wait for it to be ordered. But anything with a handy dandy C 2-5, ALWAYS in stock, never run out...

Ambien is some crazy stuff tho, they just recently cut most females off the 10 mg. Pretty sure the 10mg was never suppose to be a daily dose. Was suppose to be the starting dose and then you drop down to 5 at 15 a month.

Also the case of sleep walking and sleep "relations" with the neighbor. Not sure if that wasn't just a caught husband with a bad excuse but i must have heard that story 100 times.

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 04:21 AM
reply to post by buni11687

I guarantee that it's not the only dangerous sleeper on the market.

I have a neighbor who used to take seroquel for PTSD and his cholesterol and blood pressure went through the roof,he believes if he didn't stop taking them they would've given him a coronary, and at his age it probably would've been fatal.

These chemical remedies are not always the answer, I've had my share of bad experiences with them as well. And yet the shrinks and quacks hand them out like they're lollies.

edit on 21-1-2014 by Thecakeisalie because: (no reason given)

edit on 21-1-2014 by Thecakeisalie because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 04:50 AM
My odd hours at work left me desperate for trying something. The doc said Ambien and I never finished the script.

I woke up one morning and my roommate asked if I was drunk the night before (with that look on her face). She explained that when she got home (worked 3rd shift) she found the ice-cream that i pulled out of the freezer...stuffed in the fridge. Box open, covered in chocolate, but only 1/2 eaten. It had melted and leaked out over everything on the lower shelves.

I was sending text messages to every contact in my phone (complete gibberish) and was posting stories on Myspace talking about the mythical beings / spirits that were coming to show themselves. I knew their names, purposes, the lands they came from, the names of their leaders, all of it. It was quite fascinating (although a later google search showed not one single result for any name / place that I wrote about).

All in all, I'm just thankful I didn't leave the house an drive somewhere. It's funny to think about "buttered cigarettes" and my melted ice-cream, but the sad truth is people are dying from these things. Some of them just innocent bystanders who happen to be driving to the store while they get plowed into by a zombie.

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 08:20 AM
I remember stealing an ambien from my grandma when I was a teenager. I ended up sitting in my kitchen all night talking about the sad log who cant get out of the water fall. I was full on lucid dreaming awake in my kitchen crying my eyes out.

Only happened once though.

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 08:23 AM
I guess I'm the odd one, as always and especially with drugs of any kind.. My wife let me take a few of hers (1 each on different nights) when my father had died and I was having real problems sleeping at all. They didn't help... Never did sleep as a result of Ambien which I admit is odd, because they'd put her down within 30 minutes and that's all 'she wrote' till morning or later when she took them. Me? Might as well have been M&M's for all the good or bad it did.

I will say this though.. My son? It's ADD stims in the morning. Lesser stims in the afternoon ..then, you guessed it.. melatonin or something else (he's been on different things) to take as downers at night.

We're in a society literally living the "Betterment of man through modern chemistry" the people running things learned to love in the 60's ...and it's no better an idea now than it was then as a general rule!

So what can anyone do? You follow medical direction or you lose a doctor and have nothing. Kids? Worse of course... Follow orders or watch your kid taken by force of the State. Woo-Hoo for living in a free nation.
edit on 21-1-2014 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 08:59 AM
reply to post by buni11687

A dear friend of mine was on this # and killed himself....we had no clue it was coming. Later found out he was a closet alcoholic but was on this stuff as well. In the side effects it does list suicidal thoughts I can't blame it totally on this but I do think it can drastically change your mood.
edit on 21-1-2014 by cosmicexplorer because: (no reason given)

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