Backdoor Pharmacist
Rides the Walrus

August 28, 2013 | Backdoor Pharmacist

Ambien or zolpidem is a prescription hypnotic of the imidazopyridine class. It is the chemical relative of Sonata (zaleplon), Imovane (zopiclone) and Lunesta (eszopiclone). Colloquially, these nonbenzodiazepine drugs are referred to as “Z-drugs” and are some of the most commonly prescribed “oh just go to bed already” drugs. The Z-drugs work their magic via potentiating GABA by binding to GABA(A) receptors at the same sites as benzodiazepines.

The Z-drugs were initially advertised as less addictive than benzos. Like the belief that benzos were safer than barbiturates, Z-drugs, shockingly, that turned out to be inaccurate. Mixing Z-drugs with other depressants can make a Heath Ledger cocktail. Its more entertaining properties are what can make it more dangerous than benzos. Do not take Ambien and its relatives lightly.

Proper use means cleaning up for bed beforehand, putting your head on the pillow, and keeping it there. That’s not fun though. Let’s stay awake, let’s fight it. It’s time to ride the walrus.

Why is it the “walrus”? First off, it’s “goo goo g’joob” and not “coo coo ca’choo.” Secondly, a comic artist coined it. It will put you to sleep regardless of whether you’re unconscious.

To fight the sleep is to find the other side. It’s a hallucinogen that brings you joy and a hot mess. By 15 minutes, it’s obvious there’s a perception change. The drowsiness will become heavy, but it’s nothing unconquerable. The walls will begin to warp and a mild euphoria will come over you as you watch the visuals. Pinpoint sources of light develop a radiance like an overzealous lens flare. Keep your eyes open. It’s worth it.

Ambien tablets comes in a variety of forms, especially the generics. Some are simple white circles that you can crush. Others have a coating you need to scrape off first. You can tell by snapping them in half. If there’s a color difference, you will have to scrape. Why bother though? Ambien hits fast and hits hard even when taken orally. I wouldn’t recommend anything but just eating a single 5-10mg tablet on an empty stomach.

Getting Ambien isn’t difficult. Tell your doctor you’re having sleeping trouble and your work/school schedule cannot be changed and you need to be able to sleep. Ambien’s short-half life makes it appealing to prevent a “hangover” the next day. You can probably find Ambien rolling around in the back of a medicine cabinet. Your friends may be prescribed them. The Air Force uses them as “no-go pills” to get pilots to sleep. Many are well acquainted with Ambien and discontinue using it because of the walrus.

The walrus arrives 10 to 15 minutes in.

Hello. It’s me, the Ambien Walrus, here to take you on an adventure you’ll never remember.

Sit or lie down and prepare some things to look at. Christmas lights — sure they’re a callback to your dorm room glory days but you keep them anyway don’t you — become lights floating in an ethereal sea emitting fine spider like threads. Pick at them, you can actually feel them in your fingers. If you can lucid dream, this will be a familiar sensation, the phantom touch of dream objects. Just like dream images, if you think too hard it will collapse. Not just visuals, dream logic and dream amnesia come into play.

The body high is heavy. If you stand up, you’ll pay for that decision. You’ll stagger. Actually now that I think about it, you need a cigarette. No, not here, at the train station. Choo choo! Whoa, when did this wall get here? Oh no you just stepped on your earbuds, how did that happen? Let’s just lie here on the concrete and text all your exes about this. It’s so easy to talk now. Fuck keeping my fingers straight is difficult as the chat bubbles float apart in a phone slowly growing larger. God this breeze feels nice.

In the future, they don’t make earbuds anymore, so you’ll need to superglue it back together. Oh no it’s all over you, this is all your shoes’ fault. Fucking bastards have always been against you. They’re the ones that tripped you in the first place! Just toss the fuckers into the bathtub, that’ll show them. Oh boy now you’re finally properly tired. The bliss of sleep should now envelope you. You will have to clean up that mess in the morning. The amnesia will dispose of all but a few snippets, just like in a dream. Even US Congressmen are not immune to getting up out of bed, going for a 3AM drive, and getting into a refreshing, incoherent argument with the police.

That’s the problem with Ambien. In contrast to normal sleepwalking and sleep talking, your thoughts and b

ehaviors are much more coherent. You also can’t be shaken awake. Besides your poor spelling, terrible coordination, and profuse talking aren’t really that distinguishable from being blackout drunk. Even worse, you don’t have to fight it — the walrus may come to you at any time. Just like blacking out, you have little to no memory of it.

You might want to hide your car keys, your house keys, your wallet, your cell phone, your boyfriend, and just duct tape yourself to the bed. Some nights you just pass out. However the walrus’s calls are enticing. It makes the music feel nice. It goes well with the walls undulating with life, the ceiling tiles splitting apart and bulging towards you.

The computer’s screen seems to follow your sight. The display tonight will truly be liquid crystal. Watch Facebook melt, and queue up a chat with your ex. It’s always your ex that sends you a message at this hour. It’s a bit arousing, isn’t it? Call her over. Don’t worry, tomorrow morning you won’t remember a thing. She’ll certainly remember the babbling you did the entire time.

Ambien is also becoming more common as a date-rape drug. Overdoses can be fatal. Withdrawal symptoms are similar to phenazepam’s but over a shorter period of time. The symptoms of delirium and fatal seizures are still there. I’m glad to see that despite not being related, they’re both just as polite in killing you outright instead of leaving you to agonize. Thankfully zolpidem’s and zaleplon’s short half lives, 2-3 and 1-1.5 hours respectively, means you won’t spend that long at the hospital.

Have fun; try not to die.


Previously, Backdoor Pharmacist does quaaludesmephedronekratombenzossmart drugs and “bath salts.” Backdoor Pharmacist does not drink coffee.