Quaalude

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Methaqualone is a sedative-hypnotic drug that is similar in effect to barbiturates, a general central nervous system depressant. The sedative-hypnotic activity was first noted by Indian researchers in the 1950s and in 1962 methaqualone itself was patented in the US by Wallace and Tiernan. Its use peaked in the early 1970s as a hypnotic, for the treatment of insomnia, and as a sedative and muscle relaxant.

It has also been used illegally as a recreational drug, commonly known as Quaaludes [kwey-lood], Sopors, Ludes, or Mandrax (particularly in the 1970s in North America) depending on the manufacturer. At that time ‘luding out’ was a popular college pastime. This is the similar effect of an alcoholic blackout with no recollection of events. Since at least 2001, it has been widely used in South Africa, where it is commonly referred to as ‘smarties’ or ‘geluk-tablette’ (meaning ‘happy tablets’). Clandestinely produced methaqualone is still seized by government agencies and police forces around the world.

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