Brief history of Quaaludes

[Read the post]

As somebody interested in various areas of fringe pharmacology, I had always wanted more first-hand information about methaqualone. It sounds more interesting than most sedatives, tranquilizers, etc. Maybe like a cross between ketamine and ecstasy? It seemed to go out of fashion in a hurry and disappear before I started looking for any.

1 Like
1 Like

Disco Biscuits is what they called them in my day, way back in the Old Century.


So what were the side affects that were bad? Sounds to me like it would be a great recreational drug to legalize.

"Quaaludes, the pills Bill Cosby admitted giving to women so he could /have-sex-with/ rape them.

Fixed that for you…


It sounds like the usual depressive risks to autonomic systems, but it is not easy to overdose from.

So a fatal dose would be more than 100 75mg pills. Or more than 25 of them if one has been drinking alcohol. Doesn’t sound very risky to me, as such things go. There might be other things to look at, such as long-term liver or kidney health.

Call me cynical, but it seems to me that the factor most likely to get drugs - even perfectly safe ones - criminalized is popularity. LSD had a great reputation in the media in the 50s to early-60s - until it became hugely popular. Same with MDMA, which was legal for like 70 years. The changes in perception are amazing - if somebody gets sick, hurt, or even dies from ingesting something nobody has ever heard of, then it’s not even news. But once it has a certain critical mass of popularity, lots of moralists in the government and media come out of the woodwork making a fuss about it. Unless the drugs in question are alcohol, caffeine, or a few other choice ones. If somebody ran out into traffic today and died on Salvia Divinorum, it would make national news. Whereas if they were drunk or suffering from caffeine psychosis, we’d probably never even hear about it. The DEA has some rather interesting circular logic they trot out once they set their sights on a substance, and hardly anybody ever seems to call them out on it.


Didn’t Roman Polanski also use them to get in trouble?

Nowadays they’re being used to avoid getting into bed with women.

(Well, not exactly quaaludes, but sedatives at least)

But hey, if you want to analogize it to Rohypnol, I can’t stop you.

If it gets you down, well then I’ll take it
If it gets you up, well I don’t want it
It let you down so broken-hearted
If it gets you down, well then I want it

The article does not mention that it is still being synthesied in clandestine labs, mostly in southern Africa.

I thought that it was panty droppers and thigh/leg spreaders.

No, that’s what Sailors refer to as “Girlie Drinks”, etc…

“So he could have sex with them?” I believe you meant “so he could rape them.”

I believe what @pesco means is that Cosby admitted the “to have sex with them” part, but for some reason he and his apologists are still in denial that drugging women for sex is in fact rape.

1 Like

I think that associating a drug with bad behavior people try to excuse with it diminishes personal responsibility somewhat, and fuels “drug hysteria”. Quaaludes are a chemical compound, and there is not anything essentially rapey about them, even if this is unfortunately what some have used them for. Same could be said for other, currently-legal sedatives and anaesthetics. Point being that, not unlike with alcohol, people need to be called out on their reprehensible behavior instead of banning a drug which can be useful for other people. If somebody used rope to enable rape, nobody would be trying to blame and criminalise rope - but we have the disadvantage of a society that moralises with the double-standard of (weakly) preaching personal responsibility, while (forcefully) blaming the drugs instead. It sends a very mixed message.

FWIW I have both voluntarily explored the effects of pharmacology upon sexual experience with other consenting people - as well as having been knocked out and taken advantage of by others - so I have experienced a few sides to the issue personally. Yes, one needs to be careful with casual drug use, especially with people one doesn’t really know. But I never blame the drugs.

1 Like

In Cosby’s deposition, he specifically does not answer the question “Did you ever give any of those young women the quaaludes without their knowledge?”, so in terms of what he’s actually admitted to, he could claim that he was planning to offer the Quaaludes to women with a pitch like, “hey, wanna take quaaludes and have sex?”

I don’t really believe that’s how it happened, but that deposition didn’t include admitting to anything nonconsensual

Rohypnol was an excellent thing for me. Got feeling bad, having suicidal thoughts? Take one, dissolve under tongue, and within thirty seconds there is several hours later, with a hangovery feeling (which sucked a bit), and the world still felt bleak but now it was manageable bleak.

The more modern replacements, at least those I am aware of, aren’t by far that fast. :frowning:

1 Like

Is a rohypnol user unconscious for those hours? Do people ever manage to kill themselves under the influence of it?

I’m glad it was helpful for you.

1 Like