Methaqualone: Therapeutic use, Treatment. Methaqualone rehab.

Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 12:40 pm

Official names: Methaqualone
Street names: Quaaludes, ludes, quads, quay, sopors, 714s, mandrax, mandrakes, mandies, buttons, disco biscuits, love drug
Drug classifications: Schedule I, non-narcotic depressant


Key terms

ANTISPASMODIC: A substance or drug that relieves muscle spasms and/or cramps.
ANXIETY DISORDERS: A group of mental disorders or conditions characterized in part by chronic feelings of fear, excessive and obsessive worrying, restlessness, and panic attacks. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Post-traumatic stress disorder, and others.
APHRODISIAC: A substance or drug that increases sexual desire.
ATAXIA: Loss of control of muscle coordination.
BARBITURATES: Highly habit-forming (addictive) sedative drugs based on barbituric acid. Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants.
HYPNOTIC: A drug that induces sleep by depressing the central nervous system.
NEURONS: Nerve cells found throughout the central nervous system. Neurons release neurotransmitters.
PRECURSORS: A substance or compound from which another substance is synthesized, or made.
RECREATIONAL USE: The casual and infrequent use of a drug or substance, often in social situations, for its pleasurable effects.
RELAPSE: Term used in substance abuse treatment and recovery that refers to an addict’s return to substance use and abuse following a period of abstinence or sobriety.



Methaqualone is an addictive, or habit-forming, synthetic drug that alters brain function. In their search for new medications to fight malaria, a potentially deadly tropical disease spread by mosquitoes, scientists in India first synthesized methaqualone in 1955. The drug was found to be hypnotic and a potent sedative, but it was then thought to be non-addictive.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers in the United Kingdom (UK) began marketing the drug in the 1960s. Despite emerging international medical reports of possible dependence and abuse problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved methaqualone use by prescription. In 1965 U.S. manufacturers introduced methaqualone to the medical community for the treatment of anxiety and sleep disorders. Although it was available under a number of trade names, the drug would be known by its most popular and notorious brand name, Quaalude.
Methaqualone enjoyed immense popularity as a prescription drug, with over four million prescriptions written in 1973 at the height of its popularity. Its rise as an illicit street drug was fast and furious as Quaaludes permeated popular culture. Their use was widespread on college campuses; many celebrities openly took them; and the media and word of mouth passed along the drug’s erroneous reputation as an aphrodisiac (or “love drug”). In response to the growing abuse, the federal government took measures at the end of 1973 to tighten controls on its access.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, however, so-called “stress clinics” started to appear across America, providing an easy source of prescriptions for Quaaludes with just a cursory physical examination. In addition to the abuse of legal prescriptions, an estimated one billion tablets of counterfeit Quaaludes flowed into the United States each year.
The addictive quality and the speed with which tolerance to the drug developed was becoming apparent, and in the 1970s medical literature issued frequent reports of methaqualone abuse, dependence, and withdrawal. Hospital admissions and fatalities related to methaqualone grew exponentially. In 1982, there were a reported 2,764 emergency room visits attributed to Quaalude use.
In the 1980s, the FDA, attempting to curtail its use again, reclassified methaqualone as a Schedule I drug, a highly addictive substance with no current medical necessity in the United States. Its production as a legal medication was halted. The reclassification along with an aggressive campaign by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) against illegal labs and overseas supplies finally slowed the Quaalude flood to a trickle.
Today, methaqualone use has dropped dramatically in the United States, and just a handful of cases are reported annually to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) of the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Counterfeit Quaaludes sold on the street often contain sedatives other than methaqualone. However, methaqualone abuse and trafficking in South Africa is widespread.

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