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What are Quaaludes?

In the 1970s, the abuse of quaaludes was widely popular at places like dance clubs.
Quaaludes were originally prescribed for things like sleeplessness and anxiety, but have since been made illegal because of their addictiveness.
Quaaludes depress a person's central nervous system, so they were initially seen as an insomnia remedy.
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  • Originally Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Revised By: Meg Higa
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2014
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Quaaludes were the most popular brand of a medical drug called methaqualone. Healthcare professionals prescribed it for a wide range of conditions, including sleeplessness 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 addictiveness and its association with crime.

Common Names

Recreational buyers adopted various codenames for Quaaludes, including ludes, quads, soaps, and Lemmons. One of the most popular slang names was “714,” which was based on the identifying numbers etched into each pill by the manufacturer.

Effects

This drug depresses the body’s central nervous system, primarily its brain activity. It relaxes inhibitions for five to eight hours on a single normal dose. Healthcare professionals often prescribed them as an anti-anxiety medication and a muscle relaxant. It was also prescribed for insomnia and other sleep disorders. The possible side effects of Quaaludes include euphoria, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Some people also have more unusual side effects, including increased sexual arousal and numbness of the extremities.

Abuse

The 1970s saw a surging popularity of Quaaludes being used in social settings like dance clubs. Many people 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.

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Law enforcement officials attributed many vehicle accidents to the drug’s influence. Reports were also made of people committing crimes by slipping the drug into the alcoholic drinks of other people to sedate and disable them. Quaaludes acquired the reputation as a date rape pill.

Addiction and Overdosing

Healthcare professionals realized by the 1980s that Quaaludes are highly addictive. Frequent users developed a tolerance for its effects, and subsequently larger doses. This often led to a state of deep, crippling depression. Some people crushed their pills and smoked the powder. This caused permanent lung damage, and medical professionals resolutely publicized the hazard of using the drug in this manner. Fatal overdoses from quaaludes triggered muscle convulsions, heart attack and kidney failure.

Treating the addiction usually involved forced withdrawal of the drug, a physically painful ordeal. This was followed by a program of forced addiction to barbiturates, which is considered easier to treat.

Re-classification

Countries like the United States and the United Kingdom began tightening regulations over the drug in the 1980s. Concern over its abuse culminated in 1984 when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency declared Quaaludes to be an illegal “Schedule I” drug. By that definition, it has no legitimate medical use, and poses a high risk of abuse and addiction. Much of Europe also banned the drug. In some countries elsewhere in the world, variants of methaqualone remain readily available for medicinal and recreational use.

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Discuss this Article

anon925807
Post 48

How do quaaludes affect the health of the user?

anon262617
Post 46

@anon187814:

No, somebody probably gave him xanax or some other benzo.

@anon138139: This page isn't even about marijuana. And how many people prefer death over smoking weed exactly?

anon221736
Post 43

I think the government rounded up all the good drugs from the 60's- 70's and have them held hostage in area 51.

Give me back my ludes dudes, red devils and tuenols. And yes I had a legal prescription for all three. But the government went and put them on triplicate forms. and no one wants to mess with them.

anon212556
Post 42

I took plenty of Quaaludes back in the 70s and early 80s. Most people who took 'ludes after 1982 probably were taking bootleg- i.e. fake quaaludes, made mostly with large amounts of Valium. I was actually in a manufacturing and distribution factory of fake 'ludes once- trashcans full of fakes.

Yes, they were fun to party with, but so dangerous, especially when mixed with alcohol. Most deaths from 'ludes were car accidents while under the influence. I myself had a few crashes this way. Yes, they were fun, but I'm glad they're not around today. Kids today already abuse enough substances.

anon187814
Post 41

Question: My boyfriend came home last night high on something. I asked what he took and he said Quaaludes. I've never heard of it so I looked it up and here I am, and as far as I can tell they're basically non-existent since the 80s. So is it even possible to get your hands on these nowadays?

anon186676
Post 40

Quaaludes have been off the market completely since 1984 here in the states. I hear the Mexicans were making them throughout the 80's, but you'd be very hard pressed to find any of those things now. I tried every single drug I could get my hands on in the 80's and never came across one.

jbart88
Post 39

I loved a good 714 double m and a few beers! Cheap and you got laid for under 10 bucks I loved the early 80s.

anon143786
Post 36

Quaaludes do not have morphine. Someone is full of it.

anon138139
Post 35

Marijuana is dangerous. I have seen many lives wrecked by its use. It may have 50+ cannabinoids, or whatever, but that does not change the fact it has the potential to cause or exacerbate debilitating mental disorders. You could argue this is a select proportion of the population but that's not the point.

I do think heaps of legal meds are dangerous and many people have multiple meds to take, not leaving out the trial and error phase of the doctors to get the combo right but this one has too many side effects, plain and simple.

Death is not the worst side effect from an illness. But many people would prefer it to the side effects of marijuana.

anon124699
Post 33

I had some of these way back in like 1980. They were not unlike being drunk, except without all the 'room-spinning' and nausea.

anon124113
Post 32

I do agree that marijuana should be at least moved off of schedule 1 because it has many beneficial effects. I would even say that it should be available over the counter because most of the negative beliefs about it are A) not really that bad B) not substantiated with any peer reviewed papers. Also, since there are over 50+ cannabinoids in a single strain of the plant we are not really sure how to replicate its effect.

Sure we have marinol and others, but they do not encompass all of the positive effects of the plant, containing only one of the active ingredients. It is extremely helpful for dealing with neuropathic pain, a condition that is very difficult to treat, which is currently treated with antiepileptic medications that have their own sets of side effects.

Also, indicated for MS spasticity, nausea, loss of appetite in those with terminal conditions who are so sick they have serious trouble getting their appropriate nutrition.

anon124072
Post 31

How could you you do 'drug-screening' when people are making their own codeine out of poppy seeds bought over the counter in supermarkets?

anon109264
Post 30

Answer to the person who studied effects drugs have on our bodies. You then are aware alcohol has the worst effect, hands down. Every cell is affected negatively. Alcohol is the root of all evil. It is the gateway drug to it all.

Pot, on the other hand, is the goody two shoes of feeling high. Whatever. Take it away, make drugs illegal and let criminals control that market. Better yet, kids go sniff paint and glue because a safe alternative isn't there.

Human nature is human nature, and all the don't do its in the planet will never change that. There is no answer but lots of arguments. That, i admit. I do not have an answer but we the people have to think rationally of the alternatives taken by our narrow minded thinking.

I erased government and blame the people. We elect government and never follow up. Government are our employees yet we let them run loose with no direction. Oh yea except to "change" something. Anyone figure out what that is?

anon97482
Post 27

girls loved them in the seventies. my oh my!

anon94816
Post 26

quaaludes have morphine in them from the poppy plant.

anon93248
Post 25

I've been married seven years and found out my husband (boy next door) is a pill popping addict! how very sad! that being said, why in the heck does the medical community, not get on the same computer system?

That way they will know that he is doctor seeking for more flipping pills! Oh, that's right! when they show up in the ER room at the hospital, the doctors have to by law, medically treat them every 30 days with a shot. i so give up. erin. king county, washington.

anon82347
Post 23

"I've seen the effects of alcohol, contact sports, and driving on the body. Should we ban these things as well?

- anon52511"

Exactly the point. People will still get what they want, but the government doesn't get to collect taxes on the billions of dollars flowing in the black market.

Except driving, let's just reduce the number of licensed drivers to the 1 percent who can actually do it right and let the rest take a bus.

anon81190
Post 22

You say "people are stupid", but what if it is the husband who turns the person on to the drug?

anon79936
Post 21

Alcohol is just as damaging as any of the drugs mentioned and causes just as many problems, yet that is legal, but then again alcohol makes money for the government so they over look at all the problems it causes. It is a bunch of crap to ban certain drugs because of abuse. Again, alcohol is still here and has caused more deaths and problems than any other drug.

anon79223
Post 20

Back in the early 80's my friends and I used to take ludes like crazy! Mixed with only one beer or any alcohol for that matter causes blackouts. And what I call loosey goosey. You get make a fool out of yourself.

I mean, I loved taking them for rec purposes but I am so glad they were pulled from the market long ago. Very dangerous drug! If you had the chance to get your hands on them, I would say, don't do it.

In today's age, I refer to them as the date-rape drug. That is how potent they are! Very scary! Also, people started smoking them in bongs. It ended up crystallizing your lungs. So I say stay away!

I'm lucky I got through that period alive. I try to come to these sites and warn people. It's just not worth it.

anon76316
Post 18

I sure wish I could get it for my chronic pain. I have two donor bones in my neck as well as a Titanium plate to cover those two bones screwed in there. I really think that they think it doesn't hurt, or I don't get sharp pains when moving. I understand that it was 50/50 to start with.

anon76256
Post 17

you wrote:

People are stupid. I've seen the effects of drugs and I've studied their effects on the body. The drugs that are illegal are illegal for a reason.

I agree people are stupid. However I could care less what abuses an addict puts themselves through. It's the innocents around them I worry about. If an addict overdoses, fine. One loser down could save a bunch of lives, that the piece of garbage could have potentially taken.

anon53699
Post 13

Here's the problem: The people who really need the drug for medical reasons get punished due to the people who abuse the drugs!

Let's screen people better and continue to sift out the abusers and help the ones who really need help. Background checks. Make it hard to get the drug and the abusers will stay away and the people that really need them won't sell them because they really need them. Common sense is the trick, doctors just want the money and they don't want to spend the money on drug testing until it's too late.

I have never used recreational drugs but I am a pain management patient and my doctor does everything to protect the patient as well as himself and I think that's great. He really cares about us and not making the drug companies richer and the abusers overdose because they are stupid and the doctors have to pay higher insurance to protect themselves. Then the doctor is accused of the end result, possible death due to abuse and the good honest people suffer.

Believe me I know!

Drug screening can really help. As I said the abusers will stay away because they know it will not be so easy to have the drug dispensed to them. Taking it off the market is not the answer due to so many drugs that are sometimes really needed and effective for those who are really sick. What's the point?

I understand addiction, I do. It is horrible, so get help or have the government pay for rapid detox to give them a chance to live a normal life for god's sake. Someone please hear me and the help for some common sense.

Signed, been there.

anon52511
Post 12

"People are stupid. I've seen the effects of drugs and I've studied their effects on the body. The drugs that are illegal are illegal for a reason."

I've seen the effects of alcohol, contact sports, and driving on the body. Should we ban these things as well?

anon51850
Post 11

Seems like the do gooders don't like others to enjoy themselves. we should have the choice to choose.

anon51188
Post 10

Quaaludes have to be one of the worst drugs to try. If you're going to do recreational drugs just smoke a bit of pot.

As for the "pharmacist" in this thread. Talk to people with joint pain, cancer, aids and several neurological conditions. These people benefit from cannabis use. I'm not saying that its totally harmless. Every substance you put in your body reacts on way or the other but as an epileptic that has used cannabis as an adjunct therapy for about four years I can safely say that marijuana is a lot safer than some of the medications I've been on (one of my meds caused suicidal thoughts).

anon50661
Post 9

People are stupid. I've seen the effects of drugs and I've studied their effects on the body. The drugs that are illegal are illegal for a reason.

anon46662
Post 8

marijuana is a schedule I drug, and has numerous medical benefits. the schedule system of classification is so screwed up.

anon44186
Post 7

I am in pharmacy. the truth is that schedule one drugs do not have any way of being prescribed in the u.s. because those in this category do not have any medical benefit and also are the one people are most likely to become addicted to.

anon43627
Post 6

i wish i was born in the fifties. lol

Mocean
Post 3

hmmmmmm. .. what an interesting planet. . .

anon15224
Post 2

What country is it still legal in?

tdwb7476
Post 1

So then if qualudes are a schedule I drug, that means that they can't be prescribed in the US, right? Just like heroin, marijuana, and crack.

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