Ambien is a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic, but acts as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. First introduced in Europe in 1988 and then in the United States in 1993, it has become the most prescribed sleep medication in the United States. With studies confirming its ability to decrease sleep latency while increasing the duration of sleep for up to 35 days, it is easy to understand why there is concern over Ambien abuse in South Florida.
Generally speaking, drugs in the hypnotic class should be limited to 7 to 10 days of use, with a re-evaluation scheduled to determine if the medication is needed for more than that time period. Accordingly, Ambien should no be prescribed in quantities exceeding a 1 month supply.
When prescribed, Ambien is taken in tablet form and swallowed. When it comes to Ambien abuse in South Florida, the tablets are taken orally, crushed and then snorted or dissolved in water and “cooked” for intravenous injection.
Specific effects associated with Ambien abuse in South Florida include, but are not limited to: daytime drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, trouble with coordination, tolerance, dependence and changes in thinking and/or behavior. Ambien does have a cautionary note in that it may cause blackouts or amnesia.
Individuals who take too much Ambien are at risk of becoming increasingly drowsy and are at risk of slipping into a light coma. Those who abuse Ambien are at risk of developing a dependence to the drug, especially when used for longer than a few weeks or at a high dose. Studies show people who have struggled with drug or alcohol abuse in the past are at high risk of becoming addicted to Ambien. There is also a risk in those who take Ambien as recommended as there have been reported cases of emotional and/or physical dependence.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with any type of addiction, contact The Delray Center for Healing. With both inpatient and outpatient treatment options, help is available.