Thursday, June 08, 2006
Asleep at the wheel
In the United States, an increasing number of motorists under the influence of the sleeping pill Ambien have been found unknowingly driving on sidewalks. This happens because many people take a pill (or three) while driving so that it will take effect just as they climb into bed. "Wow, that's a really bad idea," said Dr. Brooke Judd, a sleep specialist at Dartmouth Medical School. The drug's warning label advises against operating heavy machinery while under the influence, but many people cannot even remember getting in the car, let alone driving on the sidewalk or hitting parked cars. The sleeping drug is the most popular in the US; it was prescribed 26.5 million times last year.