I Am the Walrus: A Story of Ambien and Nighttime Excursions

I Am the Walrus: A Story of Ambien and Nighttime Excursions

I Am the Walrus: A Story of Ambien and Nighttime Excursions
Season 1

 
 
00:00 / 23:42
 
1X
 

Today we discuss Zolpidem, or Ambien, the sleeping medication notorious for its paradoxical side effects and dip into what it reveals about the science of consciousness.

Transcript

Benjamin Turley: Hello, my name is Benjamin Turley and welcome back to Pharmatopia. In this podcast we explore the history and laws that make up modern drug culture and give in-depth analysis into the amazing and occasionally odd stories from the world’s black, and not-so-black market.

Benjamin Turley: On today’s show we will be discussing Zolpidem, or Ambien, the sleeping medication notorious for its paradoxical side effects and dip into what it reveals about the science of consciousness. We’ll talk about its use recreationally with Reddit moderator Tyler, who you may know better as Tyzon05, and medically with Dr. John Whyte who is studying whether this class of sleeping medication can help people, of all things, out of comatose states. So sit down, relax, and let’s find out if that bump in the night was you all along.

Benjamin Turley: One of the beauties of the social media site Reddit is its niche communities, or subreddits. The drug presence is especially fascinating to me and I’ve spent a good amount of time browsing those small populations dedicated to their mind altering substance of choice. However, there is one subreddit in particular which caught my eye that resides a little outside the rest of the pharmaceutical sphere. It is a community dedicated to the drug Zolpidem, or Ambien as you probably know it, which is the most popular prescription sleeping medication in the world. Right off the bat, you might think this is a little odd. How could a drug which puts people to sleep amass twenty-three thousand subscribers in its dedicated community? Well, the answer lies on the right front page of the subreddit. Unlike other drug communities which post dosage information and articles relating to the substance, r-slash-Ambien is dedicated to experience. You see, Ambien is unique in that it can posses paradoxical properties. That means instead of its normal effect of sedating you, in some cases it will do exactly the opposite and make you more active, even when asleep. If you take the drug as recommended and experience this effect, it could mean getting up in the middle of the night and making yourself a sandwich. However, for those psychonauts on the Ambien subreddit, this means resisting the urge to sleep altogether. On today is a fellow Reddit user who is pretty familiar with the goings on of the Ambien community.

Tyler: My name is Tyler. I go by Tyzon05 on Reddit. I moderate a couple of subreddits over there, including r/Ambien.

Benjamin Turley: So how did you get into this drug scene?

Tyler: It’s just something I gravitated towards when I started using Reddit. I guess the timing was just right. I’d say I’m pretty familiar with it. I’m not prescribed it anymore, but for about six months there I was taking the drug fairly regularly as a sleep aid.

Tyler: Most of the posts you’ll see on the front page are people on Ambien either writing or sharing things that happened to them while on Ambien.

Tyler: I think a lot of it is exaggerated. I hate to say it but a lot of it I think is just people looking for upvotes.

Tyler: We get everything you can think of almost from just complete gibberish to screenshots of people, like I said texting or communicating with other people on Ambien. I will get people that just come in and tell disaster stories. We get people who come and and tell just stories where they have a great time. It’s a real mixed bag.

Tyler: There’s a theme that I think is kinda common and its (this has actually happened to me as well) people ordering things while under the influence, like on Amazon that sort of thing. My favorite that I’ve seen on the subreddit was someone bought a live Golden Tibetan Yak. But he posted a receipt, a credit card receipt from 2:00 AM for about three thousand dollars. Yeah, a Yak? That’s a whole nother level. You’re ordering livestock.

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Music

  • Adventure, Darling – Gillicuddy
  • Enthusiast – Tours
  • Ode to a Baby Sandstorm – Ghostly Dust Machine

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