The Dark Side of Halcion

Should millions of Americans be popping a sleeping pill banned in Britain for causing amnesia and depression?

When Halcion was first approved for sale in the U.S. in 1982, doctors thought they had found the perfect sleeping pill. Like its chemical cousins Librium and Valium, it was safer than barbiturates. As an added bonus, Halcion did not linger in the body the way most of its predecessors did, and therefore it did not leave people groggy the next day. Within a few years, the drug, produced by Upjohn of Kalamazoo, Mich., became the most prescribed sleeping pill in the world. In 1990 American pharmacists filled more than 7 million orders. Satisfied customers include Secretary of State James Baker,...

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