The Ambien Defense

In 2006 House Member Patrick Kennedy was involved in an automobile accident in which he was at first thought to be under the influence of alcohol. In his subsequent trial his attorneys claimed he was driving under the influence of two prescription drugs, one of which was the sleep aid, Ambien.

Just this past week Patrick Kennedy’s sister, Kerry, was involved in a car crash and is also claiming she was driving under the influence of  Ambien and was totally unaware of what she was doing.

The news article I watched cited many cases of Ambien users walking and driving in their sleep as well as other behaviors. One woman said she wound up at work, sitting at her desk and having no memory of how she got there. Another’s son reported on his motherstanding in the kitchen cooking eggs and bacon in the middle of the night and being completely unaware.

Well, I have a personal tale to add to this body of knowledge. After a couple of back to back surgeries several years ago I developed a sleeping disorder. Never in my life did I have trouble falling to sleep. But, I’m guessing as a side effect of the anesthesia, I suddenly couldn’t get to sleep. So, my doctor prescribed a sleeping pill, Ambien. The dosage was the smallest made and I took it for some time with no strange behaviors. After talking to my pharmacist, however, I was advised to break the tablet in two and only take half the dose. He believed that someone my age shouldn’t be taking the full amount.

I didn’t take the man’s advise immediately and continued taking the full amount. Then one morning I woke up and found a chocolate cookie in bed with me. I just shrugged it off and went on with life. Several days later I found an empty candy bar wrapper on my night stand. I just scratched my head and wondered how it got there but didn’t say anything to my wife. Again, several days later I woke up to find a half consumed bag of cookies on the stand. By this time I was convinced my wife was planting these things there just to mess with my mind.

So, I confronted her and she was totally shocked and denied any part in it. That’s when I began questioning what the full dose of Ambien was doing to me.  The only explanation is while under the influence of this sleeping pill I was getting out of bed sometime during the night and raiding the kitchen with no memory of it the next day.

I immediately took the pharmacist’s advise and halved my dosage and never woke up with cookie crumbs in bed with me afterwards. Wonder if anyone ever woke up with another woman in their bed? You think the Ambien defense would work for that?

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