Blame it on the bossa nova

The SE Texas Record Mar. 20, 2010, 8:20am

"Yes, your honor, I admit I raped and pillaged and went on a killing spree, but that's not who I am. That's not the real me. It was the demon rum that made me do it.

"It happens every time, your honor. I can't control it. I drink too much rum, then I go crazy and do bad things, but it's not my fault, sir. It's the rum that does it."

"Hmm. Just one question," says the judge. "Who made you drink the rum?" --a hypothetical exchange

Judges are inclined to ask probing questions like that. That's why it's best to ask for a jury trial when you want to blame your misbehavior on a potent substance that you willingly ingested.

It could be alcohol or it could be drugs (legal or illegal), or it could be bad companions or sensuous music or intoxicating rhetoric. All can lead astray, if you allow it. And letting it happen is quite a temptation, especially if you can blame your subsequent indiscretions on the baleful influence and absolve yourself of any responsibility.

At some point, however, an adult has to say, "Wait a minute. I've got a problem here that I need to confront. This is nobody's fault but mine."

Brian Ridenour hasn't reached that point. The Las Vegas resident claims his compulsive gambling and sex addiction were caused by Mirapex, a drug he used to treat the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome. Living in America's Sin City and surrounded by hordes of casinos and frolicking hookers had nothing to do with it, apparently.

On March 8, Ridenour filed suit in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas against the various manufacturers of the drug. He argues that the defendants' marketing campaign failed to warn physicians and potential patients that Mirapex could cause compulsive behaviors.

If he wins, we might want to get prescriptions for Mirapex. Then we can let our restless legs take us where they will and blame it on the drug.

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