Is Roseanne Barr Right to Blame Ambien for Tweets? These Bizarre User Stories May Change Your Mind

A collective gasp made its way across the Twitterverse on May 29, 2018, when Roseanne Barr was busted comparing former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, who is black, to an ape. Barr initially defended herself, and then she apologized and threatened to quit Twitter. By that evening, she was back to tweeting, and her show had been canceled by ABC.

This was far from the first time Barr tweeted something that made people cringe. But it seemed strange, even for her. In another tweet, Barr blamed Ambien for her offensive remark. And while Ambien doesn’t make you racist (see page 7), it does have some bizarre side effects. And these users’ stories are proof.

A live yak

A Yak on a mountain.

One Reddit user bought a yak while under the influence of Ambien. | Kertu_ee/iStock/Getty Images

An article on Mashable published highlights from a Subreddit thread in which people were asked about the craziest things they’d done on Ambien. One user replied with a photo of a receipt — for $3,075.99 of Tibetan livestock from a company called Yaks N’ Things. The user’s friend had actually purchased a golden Tibetan yak while under the influence of Ambien.

Next: This wasn’t the only person to shop while under the influence.

Mysterious packages in the mail

Amazon parcels on a stoop.

One user described going on a shopping spree — and didn’t even remember it the next day. | Julie Clopper/iStock/Getty Images

Another Reddit user confessed:

I tried Ambien for a while. I would take it about 30 minutes before going to bed and browse around online, waiting for it to kick in. I started receiving packages from Amazon that I didn’t order. It was all good stuff that I liked, so I called around to family and friends trying to figure out who was so kind to send me stuff. When my credit card bill came, everything was on there, thankfully nothing I couldn’t afford. I checked my Amazon account, and apparently I ordered them myself and don’t recall it.

Needless to say, this person discontinued the Ambien use.

Next: Poor decisions are definitely possible.

Enjoy those magazines

Magazines on a table.

A lucky magazine salesperson scored a deal from someone on Ambien. | Zefartz/iStock/Getty Images

One former Ambien user is now stuck with a three-year magazine subscription. The person took Ambien and answered the door when the doorbell rang, promptly buying into the sales pitch.

The former user admits, “My brain just turns to mush and I make poor decisions.”

Next: It doesn’t make you racist, but it may make you an artist.

An artistic genius?

Credit cards on a white table.

Ambien can make people do some pretty strange things. | Omeer/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re prescribed Ambien, consider hiding your credit cards until you adjust. This Reddit user wrote:

My weirdest Ambien story: suddenly believing I was an undiscovered artistic genius, I decided to make art with whatever I had around me. I woke up the next morning to find all my credit cards, driver’s license, gift cards, etc. all cut up into various shapes on the floor.

Next: Never, ever mix alcohol and Ambien.

Don’t drug and drive

A car window view.

Definitely don’t drive while on a heavy medication like Ambien. | Banepx/iStock/Getty Images

This person is incredibly lucky no damage was done, as people are explicitly told not to drink alcohol and take Ambien. The story is terrifying:

I had a beer or two with it. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I didn’t think much of it. I don’t remember anything, but apparently I drove a car, with my friends in it, and they said everything seemed fine. Incredibly scary experience for me after I realized what the consequences could have been.

That’s putting it lightly.

Next: Here are some side effects of Ambien quite a few people have reported.

Have you heard of these side effects?

Sleeping pills on a table.

Here’s what you should know about Ambien. |

Ambien is an effective sleep aid, but it’s not for everyone. Here are four scary side effects:

  • Sleep driving or driving too soon after you take it: Many people wake up in the morning after taking Ambien and drive to work. This is not always safe, as Ambien can impair your driving ability even after a full night’s sleep.
  • Sleepwalking: It’s not uncommon for people to say or do things they normally wouldn’t while under the influence (which is probably why Barr blamed the drug for her racist tweet). People sometimes get out of bed without being fully awake, having conversations they won’t remember and even “sleep-eating.”
  • Having “Ambien sex”: The drug can lessen inhibitions, and numerous users reported having sex they don’t remember. In fact, there are a few disturbing reports of Ambien being used as a date rape drug.
  • Addiction and withdrawal: The longer you take Ambien, the more your body adjusts, so you’ll have to increase your dosage to get the same sedative effects. And when you do stop using it, you may experience extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Next: The maker of Ambien couldn’t resist this tongue-in-cheek response.

Racism is not a side effect

Roseanne Barr on a red carpet.

Roseanne Barr’s argument might not stand up to arguments. |  Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Barr was quick to point out that she was under the influence of Ambien during her racist tirade, prompting the public to wonder just how much the drug affects behavior. Sanofi, the maker of Ambien, issued the following statement from its Twitter account:

People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.

Because Barr has tweeted and said quite a few controversial things before, it’s tough to believe that Ambien is to blame for her racist insult. However, given the fact that the drug can make people black out and say strange things, one can assume she simply forgot to hide her smartphone after taking her pills and tweeted something she (probably) normally wouldn’t.

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