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Methaqualone is a drug which was widely prescribed as a sedative in the 1960s and 1970s under the brand name "Quaalude".
It became a popular recreational drug, used largely by teenagers, leading to it being pulled from the market and reclassified in the U.S. as of 1984 under Schedule I (wide potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use) along with the likes of heroin and marijuana.
While it is no longer widely encountered in the U.S. it is a popular illegal drug in South Africa where it is called Mandrax and is usually smoked off tin foil.
As a date rape drug
Comedian Bill Cosby has been accused by several women of sexual assault by secretly putting Quaaludes in drinks without their knowledge or convincing them it was medicine (such as a cold pill, for instance) so he could rape them. He has since been acquitted, but more due to a technicality rather than any doubt that he was guilty.
- Ludes: A Ballad of the Drug & the Dream by Benjamin Stein (1983) Bantam Books. ISBN 0553233556.
- Bill Cosby admitted to getting Quaaludes to give to women by Holly Yan et al. (11:42 PM ET, Tue July 7, 2015) CNN.
- Quaaludes, Cosby’s Alleged Rape Drugs of Choice, Were Somehow Even Scarier Than You Think: Some of Cosby’s accusers weren’t unconscious when he allegedly assaulted them. Many were awake, and unable to do anything about it. by Jay Michaelson (07.27.15 11:50 AM ET) The Daily Beast.