In his chart-topping song “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z sings, “The city never sleeps, better slip you an Ambien.” John Mayer also warbles about the same drug in his new hit “Heartbreak Warfare,” citing it as the perfect fight cocktail when mixed with red wine. So why all the recent shout-outs? A popular prescription drug, Ambien is becoming common within the music scene, as well as the college crowd as well.
Ambien is a drug used for short term sleeping disorders, such as insomnia. The side effects are few, but they’re what have turned this drug from a sleeping aid, to a party pill (just ask Tiger Woods). When you take Ambien, and fight off the urge to fall asleep, behavior changes and hallucinations begin. Similar to illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin, Ambien gives you an air-like high, and many experience a sense of euphoria. But, while the initial feeling is unimaginable, many will not even remember the episode one the high wears off.
Even though the immediate side effects are not life-threatening, becoming addicted to the drug is easy and long-term side effects can be deadly. Taking more than the recommended dose (5-10 mg) or over more during the recommended time period (10 days) can lead to serious health risks. Abuse of Ambien can lead to excessive drowsiness, suicidal tendencies, an even coma. In addition, the withdrawal effects of Ambien include stomach cramps, anxiety, panic attacks, confusion, irritability and loss of personal identity.
Like many other prescription drugs, Ambien can potentially provide 6-8 hours of exhilaration, bliss and relaxation. But the possible short-term and long-term side effects, along with it’s easy ability to become addicted, make this drug way too dangerous.
Sorry Jay-Z, but in the city that never sleeps, I’d rather not sleep either.
— By Lauren Tousignant