common names: French Quaalude, furies, mandrakes, quas, quacks, quads, 714s, soaps, soapers, sopes, super Quaaludes, super soper
Pop a lude and you’re off on a boozeless drunk, flying high with the Quaalude Culture of the seventies. ‘Safe and nonaddictive” proclaimed the manufacturers of the magic little tablets. “Let’s have a party!” cheered fun-seekers everywhere. So they partied and popped till they couldn’t stop; they were addicted.
For those who succeed in defying the “Betcha can’t eat just one” dare, an occasional lude trip can be as harmless as an occasional alcoholic drunk. The trick is to keep it occasional. Called a “Jekyll and Hyde drug” by Senator Birch Bayh, methaqualone’s -effects can insidiously crap up until you discover you are another soaper statistic.
A nonbarbiturate sedative-hypnotic, unrelated chemically to other sedatives, methaqualone is classified as a centralnervous-system depressant. Quaaludes and Sopors are pure methaqualone, while Parest, Optimil, and Somnafac are methaqualone hydrochloride. Biphetamine T and Biphetamine T 20 add amphetamine and dextroamphetamine to the methaqualone:
Tasteless and odorless, methaqualone comes in either tablets or capsules selling legally for about 10 to 30 cents each, or illicitly from $2 to $5 each. The standard hypnotic dose to induce sleep is 150-300 mg, with 75 mg for daytime sedation. A dose of 2.4 grams may produce coma, and 8-20 grams can cause severe toxicosis or death.
A few needle freaks have attempted to shoot Quaalude intravenously, which can lead to abscesses and cellulitis. Alkaline, It is soluble in alcohol and ether, but only slightly soluble in water.
Touted’ medically and pharmaceutically as a sleep inducer and sedative, methaqualone acts on a different central-nervous-system site than other hypnotic drugs, such as barbiturates Once absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, it -is distributed in body fat, brain tissue, and the liver, the primary site of metabolism-then excreted through the bile `and kidneys. It reduces the intensity of transmissions along the neural pathways in the brain and suppresses REM (rapid eye movement) during dreams.
Methaqualone’s soporific, or sleep-inducing, effects are resisted by abusers who prefer staying awake to enjoy its mellow, euphoric high. Drowsiness occurs within ten to twenty minutes, but if sleep is avoided, the body relaxes to the point of noncoordination. Walking and talking become difficult. The user tends to , bump into things; hence the term “wallbanger.”
Confident, relaxed, and loose, the tripper drops his inhibitions, becoming warm and friendly, witty and wise. His head and body feel light, his pain threshold is high. Slurred speech, similar- to that of a drunk, interferes with his desire: to communicate intimately with those around him. Light doses can produce aphrodisiac effects for some, but as is the case with alcohol, heavy doses may have the opposite effect, particularly in males. The user’s sensual, euphoric state may degenerate into simple nodding out, and hangovers are not uncommon:
Physical and psychological dependence can occur within two weeks at a daily – dosage of 300-600 mg, with overdose occurring at eight 300-mg tablets. Tolerance can develop after four days, requiring more and more of the drug to achieve the same results. At this point, overdose becomes a real possibility. Physical tolerance rises more slowly than psychological tolerance; while the abuser’s head is calling for more ludes, his body is crying “Enough already!”
Dependence is indicated when withdrawal symptoms begin: headache, fatigue, dizziness, “pins and needles” in limbs, nausea, gastric -problems, restlessness, anxiety, anorexia, dry mouth, and allergic akin problems. Anernia and foul perspiration occasionally occur. As withdrawal continues in the heavy user, insomnia, cramps, tremors, seizures, vomiting, and depression are added to the symptoms, making it similar to -,” “cold-turkey” withdrawal from heroin or barbiturates.
The head-rolling, incoherent, unmotivated’ heavy luder may magnify problems tenfold if he combines methaqualone a respiratory depressant; with alcohol or barbiturates. Each potentiates the effects of the other. The combination can lead to delirium, coma, convulsions, liver and kidney damage, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, and death. Indeed, most methaqualone deaths are caused by combining the drug with alcohol.
in addition to the synergistic effect of methaqualone and alcohol, overdose potential is increased because the user may misjudge the potency of these innocent looking pills..- Since his memory is now blown, the user may forget how many pills, he has taken, or worse, he may not even care about the, risk of taking more pills than he needs.
Overdose is indicated by grand mal convulsions, delirium, mania, delirium tremens, and stomach hemorrhaging. Professional medical aid is a must. Treatment requires close supervision. Voluntary vomiting can be induced within twenty minutes of ingestion by drinking soapy water, or using the time-honored finger-down-the-throat technique. If the abuser is, already hovering on the brink of unconsciousness, this is not advised. His respiratory center is: already depressed and reflexes in the back of the throat are slowed, so he may aspirate his, own vomit, as did rock star Jimi Hendrix. Keep the victim awake, as coma may occur rapidly if he falls asleep. Don’t be fooled by normal pulse and respiratory rates. Sudden respiratory failure can occur.
Hospitalization is a necessity for detoxification. Methaqualone addiction is more difficult to cure than barbiturate addiction. Total abstinence is attained by first substituting barbiturates for methaqualone, and then treating the abuser for barbiturate addiction and withdrawal. ;
Controversy exists as to whether stricter controls should be applied to methaqualone. Presently, sale or possession without a prescription is punishable by a fine not exceeding $5,000 and/ or imprisonment from one to ten years.
Methaqualone, first synthesized in 1930, was initially introduced to India and Africa as an antimalarial drug. By 1972, the drug industry had Madison-Avenued it into the sixth most popular prescription drug in the United States, claiming it to be a safe and nonaddictive sedative-downer.
After 274 poisonings, overdoses, and attempted suicides (not to mention sixteen deaths), doubts about its safety were raised. Abuse became rampant in the United States. During the 1972 Democratic Convention, Miami’s Flamingo Park was known as “Quaalude Alley.” Other. countries experienced similar problems. Methaqualone accounted for half of Japan’s total drug addiction, and Britain became alarmed enough to put it under strict control in 1971.
The world was getting Quaalude-quazy. High school and college kids were “lulling out”-taking 300-450 mg of methaqualone with – wine. “Juice bars” became the new speakeasies, dispensing fruit juice to luders instead of bathtub gin, plus disco music for dancing. When legal prescriptions became difficult to get, ludes went underground, obtainable from cooperative doctors and, on the street, from diverted legal shipments.
With methaqualone the drug industry has, once again discovered a way to keep us sleepy, stoned, and smiling. They merely forget to tell us that the lude laugh may be a death’s head laugh–a not-so-jolly roger.
Quaalude (Rorer): 150 mg (white), “Rorer 712” on pills; 300 mg (white), “Rorer 714” on pills
Sopor(Anar-Stone): 75 mg (green), 150 mg (yellow), 300 mg (orange); “A/S” on pills
Optimil (Wallace): 200 mg, 400mg, in pink or blue capsules
Somnafac (Smith, Miller and Patch): 200 (two-tone blue capsules), 400 mg-Somnafac Fourte-(dark-blue capsules)
Parest (Parke-Davis): 200 mg and 400 mg, in pink or, blue capsules
Biphetamine-T (Strasenburgh): “12 1/2,” 6.25 mg amphetamine, 6.25 mg dextroamphetamine, 40 mg methaqualone, “20,” .10 mg amphetamine, 10 mg dextroamphetamine, 40 mg methaqualone