May 4, 2006

Patrick Kennedy Now Says Prescription Drugs to Blame

Left: Dazed and confused?

(Washington, DC) Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who was involved in a 2:45 am crash Thursday morning, now indicates that prescription drugs may have been involved in the accident.

Kennedy originally issued a statement denying that he had been drinking. Late Thursday evening, though, his chief of staff issued a statement that claimed the congressman was on a prescribed combination of Ambien - a sleep medication - and Phenergan, an anti-nausea drug.

The Rhode Island congressman was driving a green Ford Mustang when it crashed into a security barrier at 1st and "C" streets in Southeast DC. Police say that the car nearly struck a Capitol police cruiser and that it had been swerving.

Earlier reports indicated that police officers observed Kennedy staggering.

In a written statement, Kennedy claimed that he returned home after a long session on Capitol Hill Wednesday, taking "the prescribed amount" of Phenergan and Ambien.

Around 2:45 am, according to Kennedy, he drove back to the Capitol building believing he still needed to vote.

"Apparently, I was disoriented from the medication," he said.

Both drugs have contraindications against operating machinery while using the medications. Both are noted for causing drowsiness as a side effect, and the synergism of the two must have been a potent combination.

That is, IF the current version of the story is the accurate one.

Why, though, would someone that doped up be thinking about anything other than sleeping? I have taken Ambien, and it works well as a sleep inducer, but I never thought about driving a car while under its effects.

At any rate, Kennedy's public admission will likely net him a DUI or DWI in the DC justice system. Prosecutors will be hard pressed not to arrest him with this announcement.


Lisa Renee said...

There have been known issues with Ambien creating similar situations where the person is almost sleep walking.


It's one of the drugs I'm prescribed so I remembered hearing about this.

historymike said...

Thanks for the link, Lisa.

It's been a few years since I was prescribed Ambien. My recollection is that it gave a slight sedation and decent sleep.

I experienced no side effects.

I may have to try it again if my current bout with insomnia continues. I am hoping that my slower summer pace will be enough to get a better sleep system going.

Lisa Renee said...

I even saw something on televsion about this problem with Ambien related to night eating. They had video of a woman who got up cooked food, ate it and went back to bed all under the influence of Ambien without realizing she had done so. Pretty scary stuff.


Anonymous said...

I've had bizarre reactions to Ambien and have known someone else who also did really, really weird stuff.

For me, it seems to have been dose-related. When I switched to a 5mg pill (versus 10mg) all was well. But on 10mg I did things that I couldn't recall afterward -- but the proof was undeniable. And I don't mean small things.

The person mentioned above also had no memory of his behavior, but there was a witness. What he did was get up out of bed after having fallen asleep, go to his refrigerator, get a squeeze bottle of mustard, carry it to his daughter's bedroom, lift her pj top, and squeeze mustard into her belly button.

The things I did, I did after going to bed and falling asleep.

I have no trouble at all believing Kennedy might have gotten in his car and driven to the Capitol. What would surprise me is if he can recall the episode because for me it was as if the things I did never happened.

I had similar problems with another hypnotic called Restoril. When I called the company to report the adverse reaction and recounted what had happened, the rep first giggled (because the behavior was, as I said, bizarre) -- then she told me that they had many reports of weird behavior followed by no memory of the event.

I talked to my doctor about it and learned that several doctors went to a seminar in the UK and they took the Rx on the plane so they'd be rested when they arrived. While they didn't exhibit odd behavior, some reported experiencing amnesia of events leading up to taking the Rx.

I used to worry that I might drive while under the drug's influence (i.e. while "asleep"), but my problem with insomnia was so severe and affecting my health so badly, I decided to try the lower dosage. That's when the problem went away. Or, at least I have no evidence I'm doing bizarre things anymore.

Some people take 20mg pills. Years ago in web discussion groups, I learned from others' experience that can be a troublesome dosage in terms of causing these strange episodes.

historymike said...

I appreciate the comments; I was completely ignorant of the possible sleep-walking and blackout effects of Ambien.

In a closeminded way I assumed that my own experience must be shared by others. Thanks for deservedly busting my chops on this.

Lloyd said...

I would be cureous to see how much press this gets...

My doctor game me Lunesta, and that crap gave me a weird taste in my mouth, literally. Made me even breathe weird, kind of like after being at the bar.

I can't stand that stuff.

Ambien wasn't too bad either, I don't remember having the muchies even more than usual.

-Sepp said...

Is everybody on some kind of scrip? I feel fortunate that I take nothing other than nyquil maybe twice a year yet, it seems that at every turn I run into someone who "needs" some kind of perscription or another or multiple scrips. I watch in amazement tv commercials where these actors claim instant happiness from day to day problems by popping a pill and then hear the slick fast talking disclaimers about suicidal thoughts, projectile diarhea, the need to pee every 12 minutes and, all day boners. The side effects seem worse than the ailments. And...don't operate machinery! As if I would be able to since I'll be drowsy, crapping my pants, thinking about suicide and, trying to figure out what to do about this boner that won't go away! But, at least I won't have to deal with "being nervous".

Lisa Renee said...

Mike, had you missed the stories you would have no idea of these Ambien horror stories.

That's another cool thing about the blogosphere, you find out more on various topics thru discussion.


Lloyd said...

Breaking news:

Rep. Patrick Kennedy will enter rehab for addiction to prescription pain medication after a highly publicized car crash near the Capitol, sources tell FOX News Friday.

I wonder what the folks that were asking for Rush Limbaugh's head will have to say about this?

That's why I think that the rule of "let those without sin cast the first stone" should be followed more often.

I try to make it a practice not to criticize people's personal problems because you never know if you'll know someone who later has the same problems.

(patting myself on the shoulder)

historymike said...

Good point, Lloyd. While Rush sometimes makes me cringe, he was relentlessly ripped on for his addiction by the left, and some of the attacks were uncalled for.

I think that both conservatives and liberals (and everyone else) ought to realize that legal and illegal drugs can be addictive, and that indignant pontification about how the addict is really to blame is counterproductive.

I recall listening to Limbaugh after he announced he was in recovery, and he sounded genuinely changed by the experience (at least in terms of awareness about addiction).

I cannot recall hearing him make those sorts of condemnatory tirades against drug users since he came clean, and for that I respect Rush.

Now, if we could just get him to lighten up on people whose politics are different than his...


Brian said...

I want to know if this guy attended any meetings, hearings, or voted while under the influence of drugs.

He was reportedly on his way to vote.

I show up for work on drugs, I get fired.

This guy has been a coke addict, a pain killer addict, and now an Ambien(?) abuser.

I'd say he embarrassed himself and his family, but after Teddy, embarrassment is foreign to the Kennedys. They know no shame.

If he were a human being, he'd resign.

BrianMaxson said...

Oh what rammifications we'd endure if the politicans deciding the direction of the future of These United States undertook drug-testing.

Petrograde said...

Yes - politicians LOVE to tell everyone else to get drug tested.

Anonymous said...

Fox News just aired footage of an apparently drunken Patrick Kennedy shoving an elderly black woman out of his way at an airport because she was moving too slowly for him.

I'm sure he was on his way to the House floor to decry Republican efforts to cut this woman's Social Security and Medicare and bemoan Republican lack of compassion.

Somebody please show me a Kennedy that has a soul.

Subcomandante Bob said...

News of hope for the Kennedy family in DC, as only National Nitwit can present.

Lloyd said...

I watched NBC nightly news last night, and they were presenting Kennedy as some kind of victim with the tone that we should feel sorry for him.

Were these the same folks who were digging through Limbaugh's archives to attempt to find any hint of hypocrisy? Are these the same people that are demanding to see Limbaugh's private medical records?

I'm curious to see if Kennedy falls under the same microscope as Limbaugh. In fact, he should be investigated further as he is an elected official.

I have a feeling that this will blow over though.

Hooda Thunkit said...

So, Princess Kennnedy now cops a plea of Addiction to PAIN KILLLERS...

He admitted earlier to taking prescribed drugs for nausea (Phenergan) and a sleep medication (Ambien), which in itself has questionable side effects.

Now he pleads Addiction to PAIN KILLERS, a significant change in his story, and we shouldn't RUSH to judgement.


Kennedy's problems are in his genes.

The Kennedys, as a c(k)lan, aren't aristocracy so much as they are ARROGANCE-ocracy.

Those Irish boys should stick to drinking and lay offa da drugs, like their uncle TEDDY, that is.