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Millions of Americans struggle daily managing stress and anxiety. For some it is constant irritant, like a low-level hum in their ear. For others, it is a crippling problem and they cannot function without medication. More and more doctors are turning to chemical solutions to address people’s ongoing issues with anxiety. One medication of choice is Klonopin, also known as one of America’s most dangerous drugs. For some Klonopin is a miracle drug, particularly those who suffer from seizures. However, for those that are prescribed Klonopin for panic disorders, using the drug comes with a price. First and foremost, Klonopin should never be used long term but is often prescribed as a long-term solution for people that use it to manage panic attacks. Klonopin users are prohibited from drinking alcohol. Not really a big deal by itself, but given the fact that Klonopin can and does cause memory loss this prohibition can quickly turn into a big problem.

John[1] was prescribed Klonopin long term to deal with his anxiety and panic attacks. After taking it for a couple of months parts of his life started disappearing. John had to start taking notes of everything because he kept forgetting things or having no recollection of them whatsoever. One morning after about a year of taking the drug, he woke up in a Klonopin blackout, drank half a bottle of wine, got in his car, threw the car in reverse and proceeded to nearly drive off a 150ft cliff. He remembered nothing. John is by no means an isolated case. Klonopin turns people into sleepwalkers, they are cognitively aware of what they are doing but have no idea that they are doing it. Klonopin is also a very highly addictive drug and can lead to long term issues with substance abuse.  

What does all of this mean for DUI clients? Well basically, it means that like John, they do things in a Klonopin black out that they simply would not otherwise do. If your client is on Klonopin the first thing you want to do is get them on a different medication to manage their anxiety. Practically speaking, you can use this information to try to mitigate any 23152 charges that have been filed against your client. Although I have not seen it done, one might try to use the argument that the client was basically sleepwalking and is therefore not guilty of a DUI. You would probably have to go to trial on that issue though and you would definitely need an expert.

[1] Not his real name

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