Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 23rd 2015 Contents B31
Thursday, July 23, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Before there was Molly there was the quaalude,
the most popular party drug of the 1970s.
It was also, as we now know, the one Bill Cosby
kept on hand to give to young women he wanted to
have sex with.
In ten-year-old testimony uncovered this week,
Cosby said he would offer the drug "the same as a
person would say, Have a drink. "
He never tried to sneak any of it into someone s
drink, he said, as many others did during those years.
But when asked whether a woman who accused him
Cosby testimony puts 70's party
drug quaaludes back in news
of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 1976 could
have resisted him while on quaaludes, he replied: "I
don t know."
One thing is certain. The drug, outlawed in the
United States since 1982, was hugely popular 40
years ago. People routinely swallowed it with their
drinks at nightclubs from coast to coast.
The 13-year-old girl with whom Roman Polanski
pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse
in 1977 said the Oscar-winning director plied her
with champagne and half a quaalude before raping
her at Jack Nicholson s house. Polanski fled to France
in 1978 to avoid a long prison sentence and continues
to live there as a fugitive.
Holly Madison, in her recently-published memoir,
Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cau-
tionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny, writes that
Hugh Hefner once offered her a handful of quaaludes.
" Usually, I don t approve of drugs, but you know,
in the 70 s they used to call these pills thigh openers, "
she says he told her. Hefner has declined to discuss
Madison s book.
At one point during Cosby s testimony for a lawsuit
he eventually settled out of court, he said he had
seven different prescriptions for quaaludes. He got
them by asking his doctor for some, he said. The
doctor asked him if he had a "bad back or anything,"
and Cosby said yes.
But Cosby said in the deposition that he wanted
them for non-medical reasons. "Quaaludes happen
to be the drug that kids, young people were using
to party with and there were times when I wanted
to have them just in case," he said.
Cosby s lawyers wrote in a legal filing in arguments
over the release of the testimony on Tuesday that
quaaludes "were a highly-popular recreational drug
in the 1970s, labelled in slang as disco biscuits, and
known for their capacity to increase sexual arous-
al."The lawyers wrote that media reports inaccurately
labelled Cosby s testimony about the drug as a "con-
fession of drugging and assaulting women."
"There are countless tales of celebrities, music
stars, and wealthy socialites in the 1970s willingly
using quaaludes for recreational purposes and during
consensual sex," the lawyers wrote in the filing.
The drug, synthesised in the 1950s, was originally
intended as an anti-malarial treatment, says James
Adams, associate professor at the University of South-
ern California School of Pharmacy. When doctors
discovered what a great painkiller and sleep aid it
appeared to be, they prescribed it for that instead.
Soon, people discovered that it also released sexual
inhibitions, particularly in men, and that when mixed
with alcohol it produced a mellow euphoria. It also
made it difficult if not impossible for an intoxicated
woman to resist a man s advances.
As it spread through the hippie culture and then
into the bars and private parties of the hipster crowd,
bootleg versions known as "ludes" began to flood
the streets. Doctors who prescribed it began to be
seen as pariahs.
"Quaalude accounted for less than two per cent
of our sales but created 98 per cent of our headaches,"
the chairman of the William H Rorer pharmaceuticals
company told The Associated Press in 1981, three
years after the company sold its rights to make the
drug. The following year the Food and Drug Admin-
istration banned it in the United States.
It s still legal with a prescription in Mexico, but
until Cosby s testimony it seemed to have become
the forgotten party drug among American millennials.
Save for those fans of the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall
Street, whose anti-hero, Leonardo DiCaprio s Jordan
Belfort, was wildly addicted to it.
"Party drugs go in and out of favour," Adams says.
"They come and go in waves. MDMA is another drug
from the 60s that used to be really popular and
went out of popularity and then came back."
These days it s known as Molly. (AP)
Links Archive July 22nd 2015 July 24th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page