Impulse Control Disorder

A Winnipeg woman charged in a drunk-driving crash that seriously injured a man has blamed a prescription drug for leading to excessive drinking.

Michael Pacheco, a City of Winnipeg worker, almost lost his legs after being hit and pinned between two vehicles in the crash in April 2008 near Main Street and Templeton Avenue.

“I was conscious through the ordeal. My thoughts went to,‘Were my legs there?'” said Pacheco.

His wife Kathy said she worried he was going to die.

Joan Henderson was found by police to have more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in her system when she hit Pacheco. In court, Henderson argued her prescription drug Mirapex turned her into a compulsive gambler and drinker. The medication is used to treat Restless Leg Syndrome.

During sentencing, the judge agreed with the argument, saying she believed the drug contributed to the excessive drinking and the crash.

Henderson is not the first person to raise the Mirapex side effects issue.

A Toronto law firm has launched a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 300 Canadians who also claim they have suffered compulsive behaviors as a result of the drug.

The Mayo Clinic also published research finding that those prescribed the medication had side effects including compulsive behaviour such as gambling, addictions and eating disorders.

Henderson, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to two years supervised probation, a drug and alcohol ban, mandatory counseling and a one-year driving suspension.

The Pacheco family said they’re grateful for every day together since the accident and hope people learn from their ordeal.

Michael Pacheco also said he doesn’t feel any animosity.

“I accepted her apology as soon as she hit me. I don’t believe in hatred,” he said.

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