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Quaaludes Drug Abuse, Effects and Symptoms Of Overdose

Programs, services, and treatments vary. We Level Up FL is a primary mental health center offering co-occurring treatments. We treat the entirety of behavioral health disorders including their secondary corresponding illnesses to improve long-term recovery outcomes. Get a free mental health assessment and find out what treatment options are most suitable for you. We Level Up Florida can help with inpatient primary mental health therapy. Depending on the extent of secondary behavioral disorders such as addiction we can first help assess your condition and thereafter guide you to suitable treatment options.

What are Quaaludes?

Quaaludes (methaqualone) are sedatives and hypnotic agents used for insomnia but were taken off of the market, in the U.S., in 1983 due to their high risk of abuse. Quaaludes’ active ingredient is an anxiolytic (lowers anxiety) and a sedative-hypnotic drug that leads to a state of drowsiness. It also has many other common names such as “Ludes,” “Sopors” and “Mandrax.” These drugs were initially introduced as a safe barbiturate substitute to help induce sleep but were later shown to have addiction and withdrawal symptoms similar to other prescription barbiturates.

Methaqualone is a DEA Schedule I controlled substance. Substances in the DEA Schedule I have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse. It is a depressant that boosts the activity of the GABA receptors in the brain and nervous system. It became famous as a club drug and recreational drug in the late 1960s and 1970s. It has a role as a sedative and a GABA agonist. This is according to the National Library of Medicine. (NIH)[1]

According to BBC News [2], the drug is back in the headlines after the revelation that comedian Bill Cosby admitted getting them to give to women he wanted to have sex with. Musicians sang about them. Frank Zappa speaks of “Quaalude moonlight”, while David Bowie’s Time references “Quaaludes and red wine”. It needs just 30 minutes to start having an effect, which can continue for up to six hours. Quaalude is no longer legitimately manufactured but it’s still likely to find people claiming to sell this drug on the streets.

Effects Of Quaaludes Abuse

Quaaludes are both sedative and hypnotic, impacting both the mind and body. Apart from its recreational effects, withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, requiring specialized drug rehab. Drug rehab centers look for anxiety, muscle tremors, irritability hyperthermia, nausea, tachycardia, hallucinations, and skin blisters common with barbiturate abuse. Difficulties with coordination and muscle control are common methaqualone long-term effects.

Quaaludes produces effects comparable to those of benzodiazepines and barbiturates in that it slows down the functions of the brain. Once the beneficial effects of this drug were established, it was believed that it would be safer than barbiturates and have less potential for being abused. What ended up occurring was a different story. Soon the addictive effects of Quaaludes eventually began to outweigh the medical benefits that it provided.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a Quaalude addiction can be helpful to you or a loved one. The following signs and symptoms may happen as a result of abusing this drug. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these possible side effects resulting from Quaaludes, please seek help. It is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Common Side Effects Of Quaaludes Abuse

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Tingling in arms and legs
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Itching
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Slowed breathing
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Overdose (can be fatal)
  • Depression
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Delirium
Quaaludes is the brand name of Methaqualone.
It is not the drugs that make a drug addict. It’s the need to escape reality.
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Kidney or liver damage
  • Paresthesias – Numbness of the fingers and toes
  • Photophobia – An extreme sensitivity to light
  • Mood disorders

Quaaludes Overdose

The Methaqualone you find today is produced in illegal laboratories. Therefore, the contents and strengths vary substantially. This doubles the risk of overdose and ill effects of this drug. Quaaludes kicks in after around 30 minutes. The duration of effects is somewhere between 5 and 8 hours depending on the user and their tolerance for the drug. For first-time users of Quaaludes, taking over 300mg of the drug can be dangerous. Daily doses of 8000mg can be fatal, although this will depend on the tolerance of the users. When this drug is taken with alcohol, overdose and death can happen at much lower doses.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) [3], they have recently utilized the technique of resin hemoperfusion (employing an Amberlite XAD-4 resin cartridge) to remove this drug from a person in a deep coma after estimated ingestion of greater than 4.5 grams of methaqualone. The amount of methaqualone recovered from the cartridge at the end of the 10-hour procedure was 1,565 mg measured by gas chromatography. The patient became responsive to deep pain by the end of the procedure.

Symptoms Of Quaaludes Overdose

  • Convulsions
  • Delirium
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Shortness or loss of breath
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Coma or death

Treatment For Drug Addiction And Quaalude Abuse

A person who has a problem with prescription painkillers or barbiturates similar to Quaaludes is more likely to overdose or inflict self-harm. It is essential to be able to recognize the severity of the problem and to immediately seek treatment. We Level Up Florida will help you with either inpatient or outpatient therapy, depending on the extent of your addiction. Medication-assisted treatment can ease some of the problems of detoxing and withdrawal from drugs. Once your system is clean, you’ll move on with a range of counseling and psychotherapy to set a solid foundation for your ongoing recovery.

Methaqualone Medically-Assisted Detox

Most drug and alcohol treatments will utilize detoxification programs and behavioral counseling programs. During detoxifications, a person will likely go through a multi-day process to help them get through the withdrawal symptoms of their respective drug safely. During this time, they will be medically supervised and may be given medication to help safely wean them past their addiction problems. Detox if done at the very beginning of treatment, so that withdrawal symptoms do not interfere with other parts of treatment, such as behavioral therapy sessions.

Abruptly stopping use triggers intense withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification can take seven to ten days. Sedatives and antidepressants may be prescribed to ease symptoms. Inpatient treatment may be used. As with alcohol rehab, recovery is life-long, focusing on rehabilitation and avoiding substance use. Professional detox treatment can limit the distress of detox while ensuring your safety. Detox facilitates the removal of unwanted substances from the body and is an invaluable intervention to initiate recovery. Moreover, as a person seeking drug detox, you can expect several primary types of treatment.

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We Level Up Florida Quaalude Medically-Assisted Detox

Benefits Of Methaqualone Detox

  • Drug abuse treatment planning
  • Peer support
  • Medical care and monitoring
  • Safe and drug-free environment
  • Medications to mitigate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings
  • Mental health care
  • Lower risk of relapse

Behavioral Therapies

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) can improve individuals’ behavior. CBT targets negative and maladaptive thought patterns as it promotes positive emotions and beliefs, while DBT helps individuals address conflicting impulses so they can make healthy choices. Both therapies treat substance abuse, anxiety disorders, and other mood issues. Therapy also empowers patients to identify, avoid and mitigate cues that trigger drug cravings.

Individual And Group Counseling

Addiction and mental health counseling occur in both individual and group settings. One-on-one treatment sessions may address unresolved trauma, unconscious conflicts, and specific struggles, while group sessions often involve training in life skills, stress management, conflict resolution, and social connections. Group counseling also gives individuals the chance to share their thoughts and experiences to develop social support, which is important for lasting recovery.

Find The Right Primary Mental Health Treatment with Co-Occurring Addiction Diagnosis

Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up West Palm Beach Rehab. For some primary behavioral health treatment clients, medical detox and or addiction rehab may be required first.  If you have a co-occurring severe substance abuse diagnosis, please contact us prior to beginning inpatient mental health therapy. Treatment services may vary. Please call us to learn which treatment options are most suited for your individual needs.


[1] NIH –

[2] BBC News –

[3] NCBI –

[4] Quaaludes We Level Up