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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Wildfire Worries; Teen Murder Verdict; Mother and Baby Murdered; Healer or Hoaxer?; Dozing Under the Influence; Night Terrors
Aired February 7, 2006 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well good evening again. Twelve jurors, three grizzly killings and one key question.
ANNOUNCER: Self defense or murder in cold blood?
CODY POSEY, DEFENDANT: I had remembered getting hit two or three times a day.
ANNOUNCER: This teenager says his abusive father ordered him to have sex with his stepmother. The gruesome shootings on the ranch of Newsman Sam Donaldson. Tonight, the verdict.
Medical miracles or fraud?
DR. STEPHEN BARRETT, MEDICAL WATCHDOG: I wouldn't go to that place to get my toenails cut.
ANNOUNCER: The Mexican clinic that examined Coretta Scott King. It's founder, convicted. And the patients who died.
And a nation of insomniacs.
COLETTE MARIETTA, USES SLEEPING PILLS: Although my body is exhausted, I lay in bed and just millions of thoughts are going through my head.
ANNOUNCER: Millions more Americans taking sleeping pills. Is it worth the side effects?
From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for joining us. A lot to get to in the hour ahead. We'll get to the breaking news out of New Mexico in a moment.
First, though, to California, where CNN's Rob Marciano has the latest on the wildfires raging there. More than 6,500 acres have burned. The fire is just 10 percent contained. These are some of the images we've been seeing throughout the day. Rob is above the blaze right now in a helicopter -- Rob.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Anderson, 10 percent better than 7 percent -- that's what they had earlier today. The winds died down just a little bit. You are now looking at live pictures of the Anaheim Hills as they burn tonight. The flames are reaching for the sky.
The fire itself did manage to climb uphill and more into the hills and the canyons, away from the populated areas today. And because of that, the 2,000 homes that were once evacuated, the folks who own those homes were allowed to go back today, but tomorrow there is some fear.
As Santa Ana winds are already beginning to kick up more tonight, it's a rougher ride tonight than it was last night at about 7,000 feet. And the weather conditions -- or the batters are setting up that those Santa Anas are going to get even worse tomorrow. So red flag warnings are out, Anderson, which means we could see winds in excess of 40 or 50 miles an hour.
Record-breaking heat with temperatures into the 80s and dangerously low levels of humidity. So, although they got a bit of a handle on it today, tomorrow weather conditions are going to go downhill.
We're going to talk more about this fire and a La Nina pattern that has set up and what it means for Californians in about 10 minutes.
COOPER: All right, Rob, we'll check in with you then.
(BEGIN BREAKING NEWS)
COOPER: Now to breaking news out of New Mexico, where 16-year- old Cody Posey is no longer a defendant. He is now a convicted murdered. The jury handed down its verdict just about two hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (voice-over): The case made headlines for its grizzly details, not to mention the scene of the murders -- a ranch, owned by ABC Newsman Sam Donaldson. He took the witness stand last month. That is Cody there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (on camera): In the end, the jury had to decide, did Cody Posey kill in self defense or in cold blood? CNN's Gary Tuchman is there.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Many outsiders thought they lived an idyllic life. A husband and wife, her 13-year- old daughter, his 14-year-old son, all living on a ranch in New Mexico.
But then, on a summer day in 2004, husband, wife and daughter were found shot to death and buried in a manure pile. The gunman was the son, Cody Posey, who confessed on a police tape. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where was she when you shot her?
CODY POSEY, DEFENDANT: On the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the couch?
TUCHMAN: But has now told the jury he snapped after years of physical, mental and sexual abuse.
POSEY: I've been hit with various things -- with closed fists, open hands, back hands, fly swatters, rods off of shades. I've been hit with boards, ropes. I've been hit with various things in the face.
TUCHMAN: Posey's defense attorney says he was constantly in fear of his life. Prosecutors disagree.
SANDRA GRISHAM, PROSECUTOR: Cody Posey wants to sell you on an idea that if he was hit, you must acquit. That is not the law.
TUCHMAN: Cody's father, Paul, was the manager of the ranch.
GRISHAM: Would you state your name please, sir.
SAM DONALDSON, RANCH OWNER: My name is Sam Donaldson.
TUCHMAN: That is owned by TV Newsman Sam Donaldson, who testified about the horrible discovery when arriving at his ranch.
DONALDSON: I saw a large reddish dried swathe, which I identified clearly as blood. I'd seen -- I covered the war in Vietnam. I saw a lot of it there.
TUCHMAN: While prosecutors contend the now 16-year-old Posey is just a selfish murderer --
GRISHAM: Cody Posey acted as judge, jury and executioner.
TUCHMAN: Posey says he was brutalized by his father, Paul, and his stepmother, Tyrone.
POSEY: Tyrone pulled down the covers and she was laying there completely naked. My dad striked up the torch and told me that I was going to have sex with Tyrone. I refused to do it, told him I wasn't going to do it. And as I was telling him I wasn't going to do it, he was heating up this rod. It doesn't take that long to get it pretty hot. He walked up to me and burned me.
TUCHMAN: The sordid nature of the allegations are painful to Tyrone's mother and father.
PAT BASHAM, TYRONE POSEY'S FATHER: It sounds like something that a 14-year-old boy would imagine that a sexual encounter would be. That had nothing to do with the character of my daughter and son-in- law.
TUCHMAN: Bud Cody's aunt, on the other side of the family, supports her nephew.
CORLISS CLEESE, CODY POSEY'S AUNT: My heart's broke.
TUCHMAN: Saying the killings were in self defense.
CLEESE: I've seen him with rope burns on his neck. I've seen him with bruises and marks all over him.
TUCHMAN: Verlin Posey is the brother of the dead father.
(On camera): How much do you miss him?
VERLIN POSEY, PAUL POSEY'S BROTHER: A lot. A lot.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): So how tough of a disciplinarian was his brother?
V. POSEY: Well, there's not a doubt in my mind he didn't get a spanking with a belt. And there's not a doubt in my mind that if Cody turned around and swung at my brother, that he got swung on back.
TUCHMAN: It is now very apparent life was not idyllic in the Posey household.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Alamogordo, New Mexico.
COOPER: Well, Slim Britton worked for Sam Donaldson on his ranch before the killings for about eight months. During that time, he befriended Cody Posey. Gary Tuchman spoke with Mr. Britton a short time ago.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Slim, you worked on the ranch up until January of 2004. These killings happened in July of 2004. Was this boy abused?
SLIM BRITTON, FORMER RANCH WORKER: Yes, sir, he was. He was pretty severely abused. I mean, not only physically, but emotionally, mainly verbally. All of that came in to play.
TUCHMAN: That was the defense argument during this trial, that he snapped and he killed because he was abused. But it apparently didn't work because the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder of his sister, second-degree murder of his stepmother and voluntary manslaughter of his father. He can go to jail for a long time.
TUCHMAN: Why do you think it didn't work?
BRITTON: Oh gosh, I don't know. I think that there was a lot of stuff that was admitted or not admitted that, you know, should have been different. TUCHMAN: What happened on that ranch? What did you see with your own eyes?
BRITTON: Well, you know, I saw the boy hit with the lariat rope, hay hooks, slapped with gloves, rocks thrown at him.
TUCHMAN: What do you mean rocks -- his father threw rocks at him?
BRITTON: Oh yes.
TUCHMAN: For what reason and where did he throw the rocks at him?
BRITTON: Because he was going around the sheep the wrong way and he picked up rocks and went to throwing big rocks at him there in the pen, going around the sheep. And you know, it's not (unintelligible).
TUCHMAN: So rocks actually thrown at his head?
TUCHMAN: Did you see bruises on him?
BRITTON: No. He didn't hit him that time. Cody was far enough away and got away from him, but he just -- he was just chucking rocks like that.
TUCHMAN: But there was no doubt in your mind that this boy snapped from all this abuse?
BRITTON: None whatsoever.
TUCHMAN: Do you feel sorry at all for the father and the stepmother?
TUCHMAN: Tell me why. I mean, they're dead.
BRITTON: They're dead. I'm sorry, but and you know, I do feel sorry for their families and stuff like that, but no. I mean they treated him like they treated him, it wasn't right.
TUCHMAN: You were sitting in the row right behind Cody just now when the verdicts were announced. Tell me what's going through your mind.
BRITTON: Well, right now we have really messed up in my mind. He was robbed of his childhood, his teens; and now how much of the rest of his life is he going to be robbed of? And granted, he did wrong, but I think he had cause. And, you know, all we can do now is pray for the best.
TUCHMAN: Final question for you. Couldn't he have just run away? Could you have helped him get away from this? BRITTON: Sure. People -- if he could have run away, we could have got him away from it, maybe. But it's my understanding, I can't say from personal knowledge, but I understand he did try and run away and got caught and got thumped on pretty good, but.
TUCHMAN: Actually, one more final question for you. Kids are often hit. A lot of parents do that. You think this was different, though?
BRITTON: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
TUCHMAN: No question.
BRITTON: No question in my mind.
COOPER: Well, apparently the jury believed some of the allegations, but they still brought back convictions for murder.
(END BREAKING NEWS)
COOPER: Now to the latest. Another crime that has received international attention. The execution style murders of a mother and baby in Massachusetts. Rachel and her 9-month-old daughter, Lillian Entwistle.
Someone shot them to death last month. Police say the husband, Neil Entwistle is a person of interest, but he remains in seclusion, refusing to talk, inside his parents' home in England.
Tonight, in an exclusive interview, one of Rachel's closest friends is sharing her thoughts about two lives so brutally taken away and a family she once knew. Here's CNN's Jason Carroll.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She still cannot get that night out of her mind. Two weeks ago, Lara Jehle's mother called to tell her that her close friend, Rachel Entwistle and Rachel's baby daughter, Lillian, had been murdered.
LARA JEHLE, RACHEL ENTWISTLE'S FRIEND: It's hard, you know, because you never think it's going to happen to someone that you know. And you can only fathom what her family must be going through.
CARROLL: Lara had known Rachel Entwistle for nearly a decade. They met with Lara was just 10 years old. Her father had hired Rachel, then a 17-year-old high school student, to work part-time at a special events company.
JEHLE: I kind of always viewed her as an older sister just because she always -- she was older than me and I looked up to her in so many ways.
Rachel was one of those people that she kept her friends as close as her family and she made you feel like one of her family.
CARROLL: When Rachel moved away to England to study, she stayed in touch with Lara. While overseas, she met a British student, Neil Entwistle, the young man who would become her husband.
JEHLE: She was just very happy to have met Neil and to have met someone that, you know, she connected with.
CARROLL: Soon after marriage, the couple had a baby girl, Lillian, and moved back to Massachusetts. Lara was excited to have her friend home again. She said both Rachel and Neil doted on baby Lillian.
JEHLE: She was, you know, the light of their life. So, I think that's kind of how I viewed him, too, was just, you know, that loving father that was very excited, you know, to have a little girls.
She was very happy. And I think that was Rachel's -- that was her element. That was who she wanted to be. She was a great stay-at- home mom. She loved what she did in taking care of her family and I think that was where Rachel shined the most.
CARROLL: On January 22, police found the bodies of Rachel and Lillian in the master bedroom of the family's suburban Boston home. Both had been shot.
Investigators say it's believed Neil Entwistle left the country the day before the bodies of his wife and daughter were found. He's staying with his parents in England. Investigators call him a person of interest, not a suspect.
Entwistle did not return home to attend the funerals of his wife and baby daughter last Wednesday.
(On camera): Were you disappointed that Neil didn't come to the funeral?
JEHLE: I guess, I don't know. I guess it was his decision -- you know, whatever his decisions were, were his decisions, you know. And I know that he made them for you know, the reasons that he had.
CARROLL (voice-over): Lara Jehle was there to pay her respects and to say goodbye.
JEHLE: It's very hard to say goodbye and to let go. And you know, you never let go of who they were and of the memories that you shared. It brings some closure, you know, but at the same time, you'll never have complete closure I don't think.
CARROLL: Lara won't speculate who committed the murders or why.
JEHLE: Of course, you know, you always have those questions as to why things happened. You will drive yourself insane trying to put all the pieces together and figure out why.
CARROLL: Lara Jehle says she may never understand how what seemed like a perfect marriage could end so tragically.
Jason Carroll, CNN, Plymouth, Massachusetts.
COOPER: Well, is the weather pattern, known as La Nina, a factor in California's wildfires? Right now, firefighters are battling flames and high winds in Orange County. Could we be seeing a whole lot of this in the months ahead? We'll have a live report ahead.
Plus, sleeping pills -- their use has skyrocketed in the past few years. Is it because we're a jittery nation? Is there is a better way? We'll have a look at sleep, ahead.
And caught on tape, when sleep is literally a nightmare. Could this happen to you?
Across America and around the world, you're watching 360.
COOPER: Well, if the weather experts are right, that wildfires raging in southern California tonight is just a preview of a nasty fire season ahead. The National Weather Service said today that this January was the warmest on record. The average temperature was 39.5 degrees -- 8.5 degrees above normal. Eighty degree temperatures in California have kick-started an early fire season.
That's not the only bad news. La Nina is back. With more, CNN's Rob Marciano joins us live from above the flames in a helicopter -- Rob.
MARCIANO: H Anderson. And what La Nina means, long and short here in California, is a lack of rain. And what they need tonight, especially here in Anaheim, is rain.
Look at these flames. Just in the last 20 minutes, these flames have really perked up. Fireballs now being thrown into the air 100 -- in some cases, 200 feet into the air. La Nina, partially to blame; and certainly, a very warm month; and these Santa Ana winds blowing.
Here's a wrap up of what happened in January, what we can expect in the coming months.
MARCIANO (voice-over): A 3,500-acre wildfire blazed across Orange County, California, Tuesday, spreading ash and smoke as far away as Los Angeles, 35 miles to the north. Winds and warm temperatures fan the flames and cause the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes.
For California, wildfires are hardly unusual. But this year, California could see far more fires.
MIKE HALPERT, METEOROLOGIST, NOAA: If you're living in California, you just need to realize that rainfall is down, conditions are prime for fire, and to be careful.
MARCIANO: Mike Halpert is a meteorologist at NOAA. He says the recent dry weather in California is the calling card of La Nina. We last saw that condition five years ago.
HALPERT: Over roughly the last month, the dryness is consistent with a La Nina. And looking forward, we really don't see a condition that's going to change that, where it's going to become wet all of a sudden, since La Nina certainly favors drier than normal conditions in that region.
MARCIANO: Meteorologists at NOAA report that the Pacific Ocean has cooled one degree centigrade below average, creating a La Nina effect. The result, the jet stream and any rain it carries is pushed north, making for a very wet Northwest and a very, very dry Southwest.
Last year, California had a very wet rainy season. And all of that precipitation made the wild grasses and weeds grow. But with so little rain last winter, it didn't take long for those things to dry out. And all that vegetation is now the perfect fuel.
La Nina is expected to stick around at least until April, right through what should have been this year's rainy season.
HALPERT: They've had quite a few dry winters out there and they just have to suck it up and wait until the next winter.
MARCIANO: Certainly, the firefighters around here are going to have to suck it up tomorrow and the days beyond. You're looking at the live pictures of the flames being fanned by the Santa Ana winds tonight, above the Anaheim Hills. And these flames have definitely fired up, so to speak, and expanded just in the last 20 minutes.
Red flag warnings are out for tomorrow. Beyond La Nina, it's the Santa Ana winds that are really going to cause the headaches around here. And this is very close to a populated area. We are in Orange County, a very populated area southeast of Los Angeles.
And just yesterday, Los Angeles was seeing ash fall from this fire. Ten percent contained at this point, Anderson. They'll work to continue to contain it, but tomorrow, the winds are only going to get worse. Back to you.
COOPER: Rob, thanks very much for the report.
Coming up, a question on the day that Coretta Scott King was buried -- Did the terminally ill widow of Martin Luther King fall prey to a huckster?
We're going to take a look at the so-called hospital in Mexico, where Coretta Scott King died, along with more than a few others.
And are Americans just plain popping too many pills? What's with the explosive boom in prescription sedatives? We're talking about sleeping pills. Is that really any way to get to sleep? If you've just taken one, hold on just a little bit longer.
You're watching 360.
COOPER: Well, you may already have heard some of the eulogies delivered today in Atlanta for Coretta Scott King. We played a number of them in our last hour.
Extraordinary things were said about her by extraordinary people today, whose admiration for her was boundless. And she deserved all their praise. No question that Coretta Scott King was a great woman.
But even the great may clutch at straws toward the end of their lives. And that seems to be what Martin Luther King's widow was doing toward the end of hers. CNN's Drew Griffin investigates.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If there's little resemblance to what most Americans consider modern medicine -- a two- story, non-descript building on a dirt road, outside Tijuana, Mexico.
And yet, it is here, the founder says, hopeless medical cases can find treatment.
DR. KURT DONSBACH: Welcome to Hospital Santa Monica, the largest alternative holistic hospital in North America. We're a little different than most hospitals, as you will soon see.
GRIFFIN: He calls himself Dr. Kurt Donsbach. And depending on who you ask, the man starring in his own promotional video, who claims to be able to treat incurable diseases is either a crook and a fraud or a person performing medical miracles.
This clinic, 16 miles south of the border, claims to specialize in everything from arthritis to weight loss, from chronic fatigue syndrome to cardiovascular disease. Alternative treatments, many patients say they just could not get in the U.S.
Coretta Scott King was brought here for advanced cancer treatment.
DONSBACH: All in all, we specialize in chronic degenerative disease conditions for which mainstream medicine has no answer.
GRIFFIN: Adriana Morones says the only answer she wants is why her sister died here.
ADRIANA MORONES, SISTER OF PATIENT: I wish I had the power to just close my eyes and shut it down and save people's lives.
GRIFFIN: Her sister, Dulci (ph) Medina, was a 41-year-old electrical engineer. She had a successful career, a loving family and a weight problem. Last September, she checked into Hospital Santa Monica, seeking a weight reduction treatment. She was to have a balloon inserted into her stomach.
MORONES: She wasn't terminally ill or anything. She wanted to lose weight.
GRIFFIN: According to the doctor who signed her death certificate, Dulci (ph) Medina died of a heart attack shortly after checking in. Her sister doesn't believe it.
MORONES: The receptionist, or whoever answered the phone, just said we do not longer perform that procedure and the doctor's not here anymore.
GRIFFIN: What do you think about this clinic?
MORONES: I think it's a fraud. It's a scam.
GRIFFIN: Since her sister's death, Adriana has found the Clinic Founder Kurt Donsbach has a checkered past, complete with fraud, criminal convictions and dead patients. Last week, she was shocked to learn someone as famous as Coretta Scott King was also a patient here. King was here for four days. According to the brief statement from the hospital, she received no treatment and died while under evaluation.
You would have liked to have probably talked to the King family before they went down there. What would you say to them?
MORONES: I'd say don't go there. I'd say find other measures. Anything you could do but down to that clinic.
GRIFFIN: Criticism of the King family's decision to send their mother to the clinic has been so strong, Daughter Bernice King even addressed the issue during today's funeral.
BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF CORETTA SCOTT KING: I called on the doctors there. There are medical doctors there, contrary to the reports that you may read. Be careful what you read in the paper, please.
GRIFFIN: Dr. Stephen Barrett, a retired licensed psychiatrist, has spent ears giving similar warnings about the clinics he calls, quackery. He too, was shocked when he heard the King family had put their faith in Hospital Santa Monica.
DR. STEPHEN BARRETT, MEDICAL WATCHDOG: I wouldn't go to that place to get my toenails cut.
GRIFFIN: It's that bad?
BARRETT: Yes, sir. And deceptive. I think Donsbach and many of the other people who operate the shady clinics in Mexico mislead people. I think they give them false promises.
GRIFFIN: On his website, Quackwatch.org, Barrett tracks what he believes are unscrupulous doctors in clinics who prey on the desperately ill. He's been tracking the record of Dr. Kurt Donsbach for 30 years and claims he is no doctor at all.
BARRETT: He doesn't have any medical credentials. He went to chiropractic school, graduated in 1957, got licensed, practiced for a short time, and then basically went into the vitamin business.
GRIFFIN: Since then, Donsbach has been in and out of trouble. In 1971 he plead guilty to practicing medicine without a license. In '73, a conviction for offering to sell new drugs without a permit. In '74, guilty of violating probation. In 1985 he was sent a warning letter from the FDA, advising him to stop selling an unapproved drug. In 1986 he was ordered by the state of New York to stop recruiting students for his non accredited medical school.
(On camera): And in 1996 he was arrested again. This time, smuggling unapproved drugs across this border and income tax evasion. Yet, with all these strikes on his record and no apparent medical certification, people from America continue to flock across this border, seeking his treatment.
(Voice-over): We tried to track Kurt Donsbach at his home on the American side of the border and at the hospital's U.S. corporate office. We were told he was unavailable. And then came a phone call. It was from Kurt Donsbach, who says his lawyer doesn't want him to appear on any cameras.
But Donsbach did talk pretty clear over the phone. He told CNN he no longer owns the clinic, selling it two years ago, he says, to a Mexican doctor. But he says he visits once a week as a consultant, to see patients. He insists he is a doctor with a license from Mexico, and tells CNN his clinic "was getting results in people not happy with the treatment they were getting in regular medicine."
Last week, almost immediately after Ms. King's death, the Hospital Santa Monica began drawing intense media attention and attention from local authorities.
The Mexican government has shut it down, kicking out the patients -- most of them, Americans. People like this woman, who say the cancer treatment of microwave technology, vitamins and hydrotherapy have cured her and two of her friends.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One had pancreatic cancer -- totally cancer free. Another one had colon cancer -- totally cancer free. With no surgery.
GRIFFIN: Asked if he regrets the ramifications of Mrs. King's visit to Hospital Santa Monica, Donsbach said simply, "I do not question destiny."
Adriana Morones questions everything that was done to her family members here. Her sister, Dulci (ph), came to this hospital on the recommendation of her two cancer-stricken in-laws. All three were being treated here at the same time.
One day after Dulci (ph) died, her sister-in-law was gone. Days later, her mother-in-law died too. Two cancer victims and a woman trying to lose weight -- all dead, at the Hospital Santa Monica.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Los Angeles.
COOPER: Well, millions of Americans are popping pills to get their chance at sleep. Chances are you could be one of them. Are these drugs really a cure for insomnia? We're going to examine why some health experts are worried about the spike in sleeping aid prescriptions.
And terrors in the night. We'll explore a sleeping disorder experienced by many Americans that could be putting their lives in danger.
That story and more, when 360 continues.
65 percent of Americans surveyed say they can't sleep because of stress.
What are they worried about?
Family Issues: 23 percent
Personal Finances: 16 percent
Current Events: 2 percent
COOPER: So I'm not trying to drive you away from the program or anything, but what time are you getting to sleep tonight? Because for some 50-70 million Americans, the answer is pretty uncertain. Overwhelmed by a busy lifestyle, most of these people simply can't calm themselves down enough to get some Z's.
So now, more than ever before, they are getting help from prescription drugs -- sleeping pills. But is that really a safe option? 360 MD Sanjay Gupta takes a look.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It seems that Colette Marietta is always on the move. A job that takes her on the road and two kids needing constant attention at home. By the end of the day she is tired -- so incredibly tired. Yet she can't get to sleep.
COLETTE MARIETTA, USES SLEEPING PILLS: Although my body's exhausted, I lay in bed and just millions of thoughts are going through my head. Did I sign the permission slip? Did I do this? Did I do that? Did I finish something for work? GUPTA: She tried some basic things -- eliminating caffeine, trying warm tea and a bath before bed. But nothing worked as well as a little pill, Ambien. When the doctor handed her a prescription for a sleeping pill, it was one of 42 million that were written last year. That's a 60 percent increase since 2000. And they are expensive -- about $11/pill, usually covered by insurance.
Annual sales of prescription sleep medicine now top $2 billion.
MARIETTA: It just totally relaxes me and, you know, and I just am out like that. It's not an issue.
GUPTA: Not an issue, because it works for Colette. But could she and her doctors be ignoring the root cause of her insomnia? Anxiety, depression or a chronic illness such as sleep apnea?
Harvard Psychologist Gregg Jacobs says drugs are not a long-term fix for insomnia.
GREGG JACOBS, PSYCHOLOGIST, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Sleeping pills don't change those behaviors. So they may work in the short run, but over a period of time, the brain kind of gets accustomed to them, they don't work as well.
GUPTA: Instead, Jabobs advocates something called cognitive behavior therapy, CBT -- like establishing a regular bed time; not exercising, watching TV or using the computer before bed; and making a list of things to do before the lights go out.
Jacobs has developed an online version at CBTforINSOMNIA.com, offering advice and feedback for a monthly fee.
JACOBS: Cognitive behavior therapy is actually more effective in the long run.
GUPTA: That's not a message you'll hear on the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of television ads.
ANNOUNCER: This great night sleep, brought to you by Lunesta.
GUPTA: Lunesta's maker, Sepracor, declined to comment for this story.
A spokeswoman for Sanofi Aventis, the maker of Ambien, said, "When taken as prescribed, Ambien is a safe and effective treatment for insomnia."
And there's a new sleep drug on the market. Acting on the brain's melatonin receptors, which regulate sleep/wake cycles. Dr. Lou Mini says the rise in prescriptions reflect a new awareness that insomnia is a serious health issue.
DR. LOU MINI, ROZEREM's TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL: Historically, it's been under recognized and under diagnosed and they're just starting now to see patients becoming comfortable asking about it and physicians being more comfortable treating it. GUPTA: Colette doesn't want to stay on the pills forever. Worried about side effects, such as fuzzy-headedness and dependence.
MARIETTA: I do worry long-term, but I just keep hoping, too.
GUPTA: Hoping her hectic life will slow down, to get a good night's sleep.
COOPER: So, Sanjay, are these prescription drugs addictive?
GUPTA: Well, it's interesting. They're a lot less addictive than previous generations of sleeping drugs. But there's two things really to be mindful of. One is tolerance, meaning that you take the medication and it just stops working as well. Most companies will say use it for one to two days, no longer than one to two weeks.
As far as dependence, though, this is when you keep taking the medication and it's losing its effectiveness perhaps over time. That could also be a problem, but again, less with these new generation of sleeping pills.
COOPER: Is it possible to just get psychologically addicted to something even if you're not physically addicted?
GUPTA: Yes, you know it's interesting you say that. This cognitive behavioral therapist said exactly that, that even though you might not need to take the sleeping pills night after night, you just get used to doing it mentally and then you just pop that pill before you go to sleep. And that's a problem as well, as far as dependence goes.
COOPER: All right, Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: From sleeping pills to sleeping problems and just how dangerous they can be. They're called night terrors and affect millions of Americans. Tonight, a look at this real life nightmare.
Also, imagine sleeping for days on end. Some call it human hibernation. You're going to meet a young man who suffers from this debilitating disorder when 360 continues.
COOPER: So with sales of sleeping pills reaching record highs, Americans continue to try just about anything to get a good night's sleep. But for more than 30 million Americans, the problem isn't falling asleep, it's what happens when you actually do.
Some people experience what's called night terrors. And believe me, that's exactly what they are. These episodes that go bump in the night can often be downright dangerous.
CNN Heidi Collins investigates.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the mysterious world of sleep, parasomnias are drama queens of the night.
Doctors estimate these bizarre sleep behaviors affect between 12 and 20 percent of Americans.
And you won't believe what happens when the lights go out. Caught on tape here, in this sleep lab video -- sleepwalking, sleep eating, angry sleep talking, violently acting out dreams.
for some people, sleep truly is a nightmare. 15-year-old Laura Sanco (ph) has been sleepwalking for as long as she can remember. But the last four years have been the worst, spent in the throws of night terrors.
LAURA SANCO (ph), SLEEPWALKER: I see these people staring in at me and they're coming to get me or something in my dream. All of a sudden they had caught me and it was my parents, holding me back. It's scary and I can't really differentiate what's real and what's not.
COLLINS: During a night terror, Laura is in a twilight zone, neither awake, nor completely asleep, petrified by a terrible dream, yet conscious enough to act. Coupled with sleepwalking, it's a dangerous combination. Laura doesn't remember most of these episodes, but her parents, Becky and Mike, can't forget.
(On camera): How does it impact you?
BECKY SANCO (ph), MOTHER OF LAURA: It's so horrible because she bolts up. She's just panic-stricken. And the scream is horrible. It's just blood curdling scream and she takes off.
MIKE SANCO (ph), FATHER OF LAURA: The terror and the speed and the strength. I've been on the ground, holding one leg and she's dragging me.
COLLINS (voice-over): By day, Laura is a vibrant, happy teenager. She's a high school sophomore who loves sports and spending time with her two sisters. But everything changes at night. Under the cover of darkness, something haunts Laura.
One night, two years ago, something terrified her so badly, she'd do anything to escape.
MIKE SANCO (ph): 2:15 in the morning and are sound asleep and awoke to just the blood curdling scream. The next thing you see is Laura flying by the bed, heading towards this door. Well, I started immediately just screaming, Laura, Laura, no, no. Because I saw her come by here. She, you know, she flipped on the lights and her hands just kind of moved down on the door and she unbolted it, unlocked it and just flung the door open and she continued on a path as fast as you could imagine, right of here, and screaming the whole time. She never stopped.
COLLINS: Laura hit the ground 25 feet below, still asleep, still screaming. And amazingly, after the fall, still frantically on the move. At the time, this single-home was under renovation. There was a deck, but no railing -- only wooden posts and sloping earth underneath.
L. SANCO (ph): When I landed, I landed like right here, against this. Then I ran through these bushes and over these rocks and around the house. I collapsed like in this area.
COLLINS: Laura broke two vertebrae in her lower back and spent one week in the hospital, 10 weeks in a body cast, 18 weeks in a back grace.
What causes her midnight madness? Doctors aren't sure, but they know sleep disorders run in families.
B. SANCO (ph): Love you, honey.
COLLINS: Both Mike and Becky have a history of sleepwalking. So does Laura's identical twin, Megan.
MEGAN SANCO (ph), LAURA'S IDENTICAL TWIN: Good night, Laura. Love you (unintelligible).
COLLINS: And aside from genes, other factors can play a role.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most potent trigger of sleepwalking night terrors for people who are susceptible is sleep deprivation. That is far and away the most potent trigger, sleep deprivation, stress, medications, alcohol, irregular sleep schedule. All those can be aggravating or precipitating factors.
COLLINS: The altered state is worse than any nightmare you've ever had. And unlike a nightmare, a night terror, doesn't have a vivid complex plot that keeps you paralyzed -- just an overwhelming and primal sense of fear, usually striking in the first and deepest stage of sleep.
B. SANCO (ph): That picture, that will be in my mind forever, of her leaping right here into the sky.
MIKE SANCO (ph): It's scary. And I'll tell you what, it's not going to happen again.
COLLINGS: Mike Sanco (ph) won't let it happen again. Every night this quiet Minnesota home turns into a fortress to keep Laura safe.
MIKE SANCO (ph): I put chairs in front of the doors and I offset them. I double-check that the doors are all bolted. We moved a bench in front of this door on the balcony. It's a heavy bench, you know. Even Laura's strength, you're not going to move this out. And, you know, I hit the floor here in the doorway and you know, that's where I go to sleep at night. COLLINS: There, for two years every night since the accident. Safeguarding Laura is a real family affair, pooch included. Taz lays watch on Laura's legs. The jingle of her collar serves as a warning bell if Laura tries to bolt. And Megan has positioned her bed close to the door of the room they share.
MEGAN SANCO (ph): It's just unbelievably scary, waking up to her screaming. It's my job to like turn on the lights so then she'll wake up.
MIKE SANCO (ph): Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
COLLINS: The Sancos (ph) say their sleeplessness is worth it. There's been no repeat incident. Laura's bones have healed and she has found the right specialist to diagnose and treat her problem. For now, she takes anti-anxiety medicine each night and will soon learn special exercises to get control over her body -- even self-hypnosis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For Laura, we recommended that she utilize some biofeedback or meditative strategies to deepen her sleep and to sort of smooth out the sleep cycles so that she is not responding to whatever that trigger is.
COLLINS: Laura has missed out on some of the joy of being a teenager. Trips and sleepovers at friends' houses are simply impossible. Too much danger, not enough protection. Doctors say there's a chance she'll outgrow her parasomnia, but she's already coming to terms with battling and overcoming a life of bad dreams.
L. SANCO (ph): I think about it and I mean, I really wish that I didn't have to deal with it. I wish -- I hope that someday, you know, it will be okay.
Heidi Collins, CNN, Duluth, Minnesota.
COOPER: It is hard to imagine having that.
Coming up, a look at another sleep disorder, one where you sleep for days.
But first, Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us with some of the business stories we're following. Hi Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson.
Nearly three years after the war began, Iraq's oil reserves are getting some new scrutiny. The U.S. now urging Iraqi officials to come up with a fresh plan to allow Western oil companies to develop and export Iraq's oil. Security concerns have hampered development, so has instability. Oil execs, too, say they just can't figure out which Iraqis to talk to.
The creation of a $140 billion trust fund for victims of asbestos-related diseases is now one step closer. The U.S. Senate today defeated a procedural motion that would have effectively killed it. If the fund wins final approval, it will halt asbestos lawsuits that have forced a number of companies into bankruptcy.
Some of Apple's iPods getting a little more affordable today. The lowest price iPod can now be yours for $69. That's about $30 cheaper. It also introduced a smaller capacity model of its mid-price iPod. Analysts say those moves are one way for the company to strengthen its position as a market leader in digital music players.
And a Cosmetics Maven Bobbi Brown -- she's known for her line of natural makeup for the eyes and lips. This fall, though, she's adding a little something else to the palette -- Bobbi Brown chocolate bars. You can get them right next to the chocolate eye and lip shades. So you can either eat them, wear them or hey, go for both.
COOPER: I got to tell you, at first I thought you meant Whitney Houston's Bobby Brown.
HILL: You know what? When I first saw the slug on the rundown, I thought it was Bobby Brown too and I was like, Bobby Brown candy? What's he doing now? But no, this is Bobbi with an I.
COOPER: Yes, all right, Erica, thanks very much.
As we told you earlier, more and more Americans are using drugs to help them get some sleep. After the break, meet someone with the opposite problem. He can't get up and sometimes sleeps for days.
Across America and around the world, you're watching 360.
COOPER: Earlier this hour, we've explored the problems a lot of people have falling asleep. But imagine the opposite happening. Imagine falling asleep, worried that you won't wake up for days or even months. CNN's Kareen Wynter introduces us to a teen who faces that fear all the time.
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's only 15 years old, but he's in a race against time. Eric Haller seizes every moment on the basketball court and at home with friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the shot came in.
WYNTER: Simple things other people take for granted are precious to Eric. He knows it's just a matter of time before he loses control.
ERIC HALLER, SLEEPS FOR DAYS: I'm pretty freaked out about that.
WYNTER: Before he has to sleep again.
HALLER: It's pretty stressful. Sometimes it's depressing.
WYNTER: This vibrant, outgoing teenager slips into an altered state, in which he sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. Sometimes for up to 20 hours at a time, day after day, buried beneath a blanket. Getting up only to use the bathroom or work with light.
Eric's biggest fear was getting sick and missing Christmas. It happened again, just like the last two years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you remember the last time you woke up?
HALLER: No, I just want to sleep.
WYNTER: Most medical researchers have never heard of this rare disorder. It's called Kleine-Levin Syndrome, and it's a mystery. No one yet has found the cause. It's marked by episodes of excessive sleep, combative and childlike behavior. Each episode can last for weeks, even months, with patients literally sleeping their lives away.
Eric has missed school, holidays, a large part of his childhood. Loerry Haller says her son usually falls into an episode twice a month. His sleeping spells can last a week or longer.
LOERRY HALLER, ERIC'S MOTHER: He's going through so much agony right now and it's a little hell right now that he's in.
WYNTER: Loerry's life is also on hold.
L. HALLER: He cries and asks, mom, when am I going to be better? He has no control and that's very frustrating. Knowing that he's losing part of his life.
WYNTER: It's 8:00 o'clock at night, day nine. Eric has slept 18 hours today. The next morning he wakes up briefly to use the bathroom.
L. HALLER: This is day 10, so he has been sleeping for 10 days.
WYNTER: But Eric goes right back to bed. A few hours go by. Loerry is concerned. Watch what happens when she tries to wake him up in the middle of the afternoon.
L. HALLER: Aren't you hungry now? You haven't eaten in a long time.
HALLER: No. Get out.
L. HALLER: Eric, do you feel like maybe you're coming out of it?
HALLER: No. I just said get the -- out.
WYNTER: It wasn't always like this. Loerry says her son began to get sick in the sixth grade. She took him to specialists, and psychologists soon variably told her Eric was either depressed or on drugs or even faking his condition.
It took two frustrating years until one doctor finally reached a diagnosis. Dr. David Palton, he stumbled on the answer in a 20-year- old textbook. DR. DAVID PALTON, PSYCHOLOGIST: It talked about a case of a 17- year-old young lady who would go to sleep for a couple of weeks at a time and talked about her regression in personality. And then, you know, I knew that that was something close to what I was seeing in Eric.
WYNTER (on camera): Kleine-Levin Syndrome. Finally, the Hallers had a name for Eric's problem. There are only 500 documented cases worldwide. But this new knowledge was a mixed blessing.
PALTON: Both had a big sigh of relief. It was bittersweet. It was good and bad news, of course.
WYNTER (voice-over): Dr. Palton says there has been almost no research into KLS. No one has come up with a cure. Each case is different. If they're awakened, some patients might try to stay up in a confused foggy state. But they quickly go back to sleep.
DR. EMANNUEL MIGNOT, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: There's actually even a few cases where people have died of suffocating from eating and overeating during (unintelligible).
WYNTER: Dr. Emmanuel Mignot is a researcher at Stanford University's sleep disorder clinic.
MIGNOT: We are finding that there is probably a genetic factor that's important in predisposing to Kleine-Levin Syndrome.
WYNTER: Dr. Mignot says researchers are still far from a cure. Until then, patients like Eric Haller will live as much of their lives as they can in those precious moments of reality before they have to sleep again.
Kareen Wynter, CNN, Los Angeles, California.
COOPER: Well, on our radar tonight, the Muslim protest over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. You've seen the story. We've gotten hundreds of responses on the 360 blog about it. I just put down another blog post about it. Here are a few of the responses we've been getting.
Allen in Vancouver, British Columbia, says, "When is the Islamic world going to hit the street in protest against the too many who are bringing the Islamic faith into disrepute? Where are the Imams of the peaceful religion when people are dying, do they only cone out to protest cartoons? Are death and murder OK?"
Monica in Eagar, Arizona, writes, "This rioting could have very easily been avoided by the newspapers not publishing such controversial cartoons and by everybody practicing something this world is much to short of: tolerance."
Jen in Raleigh, North Carolina, says this, "How can people of other faiths respect their religion and what it stands for when they show us so much rage? There are more eloquent and effective ways to express displeasure."
And Liza from Huntsville, Texas, said this on the blog, "We have been meddling in the business of Islam and the Middle East for far too long. Freedom of speech and true democracy are OUR way of life. It's high time we stop trying to force that on other cultures."
COOPER: Very different viewpoints, as we say on the blog. Man, it is getting late. Maybe I shouldn't have taken that sleeping pill.
More on 360 in a moment. Stay with us.
COOPER: So, "LARRY KING" is next. Thanks for watching.
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