In the 1970s, abuse of quaaludes was widely popular in places like dance clubs.
Quaaludes were the most popular brand of a drug called methaqualone. Health professionals have prescribed it for a wide range of conditions, including insomnia and anxiety. Recreational users began experimenting with it, and “ludes” quickly became an equally popular non-medical drug in many countries. It was eventually declared illegal in many countries because of its addiction and its association with crime.
Recreational buyers have adopted several codenames for Quaaludes, including ludes, quads, soaps, and Lemmons. One of the most popular slang names was “714”, which was based on the identification numbers engraved on each pill by the manufacturer.
Quaaludes were originally prescribed for things like insomnia and anxiety, but have since been banned because of their addiction.
This drug depresses the body’s central nervous system, particularly its brain activity. It relaxes inhibitions for five to eight hours with a single normal dose. Health professionals often prescribe them as an anxiolytic and muscle relaxant medication. It was also prescribed for insomnia and other sleep disorders. Possible side effects of Quaaludes include euphoria, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. Some people also experience more unusual side effects, including increased sexual arousal and numbness of the extremities.
Quaaludes depress a person’s central nervous system, so they were initially seen as a remedy for insomnia.
The 1970s saw a growing popularity of Quaaludes being used in social settings like dance clubs. Many people have deliberately ingested them with alcohol, which is also a drug. The interaction between the two is unpredictable and potentially dangerous. This particular combination sometimes caused memory “blackouts”, with people reporting no recollection of events that occurred during their intoxication.
A possible side effect of Quaaludes is increased sexual arousal.
Police officers attributed many vehicle accidents to the influence of the drug. There have also been reports of people committing crimes by putting the drug in other people’s alcoholic beverages to sedate and deactivate them. Quaaludes has acquired a reputation as a rape pill.
Addiction and overdose
Health professionals realized in the 1980s that Quaaludes are highly addictive. Frequent users developed tolerance to its effects and subsequently increased doses. This often led to a state of deep, paralyzing depression. Some people crushed their pills and smoked the powder. This caused permanent damage to the lungs, and medical professionals resolutely publicized the danger of using the drug in this way. Fatal overdoses of quaaludes triggered muscle seizures, heart attack and kidney failure.
Addiction treatment often involved forcibly withdrawing from the drug, a physically painful ordeal. A program of forced dependence on barbiturates followed, considered easier to treat.
Methaqualone is classified as a hypnotic sedative and was originally prescribed to treat anxiety and relax muscles.
Countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom began tightening regulations on the drug in the 1980s. Concern about its use culminated in 1984, when the US Drug Enforcement Administration declared Quaaludes an illegal “Table I” drug. . By this definition, it has no legitimate medical use and poses a high risk of abuse and addiction. Much of Europe has also banned the drug. In some countries in other parts of the world, methaqualone variants remain readily available for medicinal and recreational use.