What are quaaludes?
mandrax Quaaludes (methaqualone) are a synthetic, barbiturate-like, central nervous system depressant and a popular recreational drug in the U.S. from the 1960s until the 1980s, when its use was made illegal by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The active ingredient, methaqualone, is an anxiolytic (lowers anxiety) and a sedative-hypnotic drug that leads to a state of drowsiness. These drugs, imprinted with the number “714” on the tablet, were initially introduced as a safe barbiturate substitute to help induce sleep, but were later shown to have addiction and withdrawal symptoms similar to other prescription barbiturates. Quaaludes are rarely encountered on the streets in the U.S. today, but are occasionally confiscated coming across the border.
History of quaaludes
Quaaludes were first synthesized in India in 1950’s. It was introduced into America in the 1960s and by the late ’60s and ’70s it became a popular recreational drug, often found in discos and referred to as a “disco biscuit”. The abuse potential of Quaaludes soon became apparent and in 1973 methaqualone was placed in Schedule II, making it difficult to prescribe and illegal to possess without a prescription. In 1984 it was moved to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Federal Schedule I, so Quaaludes are no longer legally available in the United States. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S., and lack accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
Quaaludes that are sold only for illicit recreational use now are synthesized in clandestine laboratories. Illegally produced Quaaludes can contain other central nervous system depressants such as benzodiazepines or even fentanyl.
In the 1960s a methaqualone and diphenhydramine combination pill called Mandrax was sold as a sedative. Current Mandrax pills, made illegally, may also contain benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or ephedrine. Mandrax is still widely abused in South Africa.
Uses of quaaludes
In 1972, Quaaludes were one of the most frequently prescribed sedatives in United States.
In prescribed doses, Quaaludes promotes relaxation, sleepiness and sometimes a feeling of euphoria. It causes a drop in blood pressure and slows the pulse rate. These properties are the reason why it was initially thought to be a useful sedative and anxiolytic.
It became a recreational drug due to its euphoric effect. Quaaludes were a popular drug of abuse during much of the 1970s, even though both the United States and Britain tightened control around their use and dispensing.