What Are Quaaludes and Why Did Bill Cosby Use Them?

TIME

Interest in quaaludes, a powerful sedative popular among housewives in the 1960s and disco partiers in the 70s and 80s, has peaked again following revelations about disgraced comedian Bill Cosby’s use of the drug. An Associated Press report revealed that Cosby admitted to acquiring the drug with intentions of giving it to women he planned to have sex with during a deposition in 2005. Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by over two dozen women.

But, just what are quaaludes?

Methaqualone or quaaludes— also known as ‘ludes, Lemmons, and 714s—were initially synthesized in India in the 1950s. The pill is part sleeping pill, part sedative that was initially marketed as not being as addictive as barbiturates.

By the mid-1960s, the pill was being manufactured in the United States and prescribed to housewives with trouble controlling their nerves and sleeping. But soon another use of the drug was discovered: mix…

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