Adverse Effects


phenmetrazine hydrochloride


Has CNS stimulant, euphoric and appetite suppressing qualities similar to but less efficient than amphetamine. Mainly used as a diet aid.

Side effects can include tremors, increased heartbeat, diarrhea and insomnia. Overdose may produce a temporary psychotic state, coma, convulsions and even death. Tolerance, psychological dependence and depression after withdrawal result from long-term use.

Occasionally used illicitly when amphetamines are scarce.

methylphenidate hydrochloride


Similar to the effects of amphetamine but less potent. Used to calm hyperkinetic children; also in mild depression, narcolepsy, senility and lethargy from depressant drugs.

Side effects—nausea, headache, anxiety. Chronic use can lead to dependence. Overdose symptoms range from nervousness to delirium and hallucinations.

Totally banned in Sweden.

diethylpropion hydrochloride e.g., Tenuate Tepanil

Mainly acts to reduce appetite, produces only slight CNS stimulation or sometimes can act as a slight suppressant.

Occasional side effects such as tremors or gastro-intestinal disturbances.

Seldom used recreationally


Ama sec, Bronkotabs

A mild stimulant used to treat asthma as it is also a bronchiodilator. The sedative effects of antihistamines are often counteracted by combining them with ephedrine or other mild stimulants such as phenylephrine or phenylpropanolamine.

Overuse of any CNS stimulant can result in tremors, headache and nausea.

Potentiates brucine and strychnine, with which it is often found in illicitly produced Uups,"

SEDATIVE-HYPNOTICS There were a plethora of sleeping aids and nerve tonics in use at the turn of the twentieth century. Doctors prescribed alcohol in extravagant quantities, along with various preparations of opium, bromide salts, paraldehyde, chloral hydrate and other depressants. But each of these had their drawbacks, it was noted in clinical use. Alcohol was not a proper remedy for teetotalers or lushes; chloral and paraldehyde were unpleasant to take; bromides were toxic, opium addicting.

Barbital, a new sedative-hypnotic (sleep inducer), was introduced into medicine in 1902 under the trade name Veronal... This first of the barbiturates was named after tranquil Verona, Italy, the city where the German chemist Emil Fischer received a telegram from his partner Joseph von Mering confirming their experimental success. Von Meiing, Fischer and a good percentage of the scientific and lay communities hailed barbital as a truly effective sedative that was eminently safe. Phénobarbital was introduced as Luminal in 1912. Since then over 2,500 barbituric acid derivatives have been synthesized; about 50 of these are on the market today.

Not all barbiim^ates are alike, however. Those currently being produced fall into three categories: long-acting, short-acting and very short-acting. Veronal and Luminal are long-acting barbs, mainstays for purposes of daytime sedation and the control of epilepsy. The calming effects of these types of barbs are spread out over time to avoid causing excessive drowsiness or intoxication in patients. Many people use long-acting barbiturates such as phénobarbital for a period of years, yet addiction is not all that common. Because of their restrained effects (sleep usually comes before a buzz), these long-term barbs are seldom used recreationally.

The one very short-acting barb is thiopental, better known by one of its pharmaceutical trade names, Sodium Penlothal, or truth serum.'* In small doses, it causes people to speak freely and lose their inhibitions. A larger dose will cause an immediate loss of consciousness. It is often used as a preparation for a general anesthetic.

Short-acting barbiturates are the ones most often found on the street.. Used medically for rapid sedation and as sleeping pills, these shoilies are amazingly similar to alcohol, Fischer and von Mering might very well, be surprised that their discovery, held to be the safe replacement of strong drink, would be used to develop a class of drugs that act like so lui booze in tenns of effect, side effects, hangover, addiction and withdrawal. . If the average person takes an intoxicating dose of

LIKE SOLID ALCOHOL "Having thus demonstrated that a barbiturate drunk is precisely like an alcohol drunk, including the subsequent hangover, Dr. Is be 11 and his associates next went on to reproduce by means of barbiturates all of the phases of chronic alcoholism

They neglected their appearance, became unkempt and dirty, did not shave, bathed infrequently and allowed their living quarters to become filthy. They weie content to wear clot lies soiled with food which they had spilled. All patients were confused and had difficulty in performing simple tasks or in playing caids or dominoes.*.

During the preliminary drug-free period of the experiment, the five men had become good friends and had developed a spirit of camaraderie among themselves. While drunk on barbiturates, in contrast, they became 'irritable and quarrelsome. They cursed one another, and at times even fought'-all traits of the alcohol drunk/!"

Edward M. Brecher and ilie Editors of Consumer Reports

Licit and IJ lie it Drugs, 1972

a short-acting barbiturate and does not go to sleep, his actions will be little different than if he were drunk. He will, probably have trouble thinking clearly, but won't care. His speech may slur, but what the hell. It's not unlikely that he will fall over furniture or rebound from walls in his exuberance.

The similarities continue. Short-acting barbs are as addicting as alcohol, and the withdrawal symptoms produced by the cessation of both drugs are identical. . Abrupt discontinuance after prolonged use of either drug can prove fatal, and tolerance to each develops identically. In fact, a person habituated to alcohol has a tolerance to barbiturates even if he's never used a barb in his life, and vice versa. Likewise, a barbiturate wi)J_ alleviate the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and the counterpart is also true. Finally, both highs can produce equally depressing hangovers the next day.

Subjective reactions to barbs vary with the individual as much as alcohol. People may become morose, boisterous, melancholy, belligerent, sloppy, stupid, sentimental, silly, happy, horny-just about anything. Unfortunately, many users often wash their pills down with copious amounts of alcohol. This combination should be avoided unless one considers himself ready for the "'ultimate high,f-death. Even on their own, barbiturates frequently cause death from respiratory depression. More Americans overdose on these sleeping pills than any other substance.

Traditionally, the shorts most commonly used for illicit highs are: secobarbital (Seconal or ''reds1'), pentobarbital (Nembutal or "yellow jackets"), amobarbital (Amytal or '"blues'"), and a combination of amo and secobarbitals (Tuinal or "tooies"), Other common long-acting barbiturates include aprobarbita) (Alurate) and diallybarbituiic acid (Dial). Other short-acting barbs are butabarbital (Bntisol Sodium), cyclobarbital (Phanodorn), heptabarbital (Medomin), hexethal (Orlal), pro barbital (Ipral), ralbutal (Lotnsate) and vinbarbital (Delvinal). At the height of drug use for "consciousness expansion,'" acid and grass aficionados often had small regard for1 down freaks, criticizing them along with drunks as slovenly and stupid.

However, when the glories of liquor were rediscovered in the eariy Seventies, the use of downs seemed to increase. People found that a pill that makes you act moronic and fall down could be a healthy release. You could get rowdy, completely forget about that thesis, unabashedly jump on the body of a stranger, ram a car into a wall-just like with alcohol, but without the nasty taste going down or coming up.

This revival was short-lived, however. In 1973, manufacturing quotas were imposed on many barbiturates. Perhaps more importantly, those interested in such things discovered methaqualone, the pill of the Seventies. Still, for their relative inactivity on the black market, almost one million pounds of barbiturates are

COOF BALL BUMS "Tlie barbiturate addict presents a sliocking spectacle. He cannot coordinate, lie staggers, falls off bar stools, goes to sleep in the middle of a sentence, drops food out of Iiis mouth. He is confused, quarrelsome and stupid. And he almost always uses oilier drugs, anything he can lay hands on: alcohol, benzedrine, opiates, marijuana. Barbilurale users are looked down on in addict society: 'Goof ball bums. They got no class to lliem.'. ... It seems to me lliat barbiturates cause I lie worst possible form of addiction, unsightly, deteriorating, difficult, to treat."

William Burroughs Naked Lunch, 1959

produced in the United States each year. That's enough for 35 pills for every American citizen annually.

Methaqualone is one pharmaceutical thai is usually known in illicit, circjes by one brand name. Today a tablet of this hypnotic-sedativ.e is almost universally known to thrill seekers as a "'Quaalude,1' the registered name used by Rorer, even though there are four' other brands of methaqualone currently on the markei.. Of Oplimil,. Paresl, Somnafac and Sopor, only the last name is sometimes used lo refer to this famous "'love drug'1 of the Seventies.

Originally produced in India as an antimalarial drug in 1951, methaqualone's hypnotic effects led to its being developed as a nighttime ticket to dreamland. The West!s first exposure lo the wily drug occurred in Great Britain in the middle Sixties, at which time Mandrax was widely prescribed by doctors as a sleeping pill.. With over two million prescriptions for Mandrax written in the year 1968, mods and rockei-s had little trouble in discovering the exuberance potential in methaqualone. In tribute to the unremembered bruises often found on the body after a night of soporific carousing, the English dubbed the pills "'wall bangers.''

The first whispers of sopor parties in the U.S. came in the very late Sixties from such divergent places as Miami and Columbus, Ohio, but methaqualone's rampant popularity, began in this country in 1971, when it became a media cause celebre as the "'love drug1' of New York City. Newspapers and magazines stirred up people across the land, telling tales of wanton orgies where inflamed coeds would work themselves hoarse by their pleadings for penetration. Television cameras went into juice bars, clubs that sell no alcoholic beverages, and filmed grinning, stumbling kids, kids having a great time drinking juice and popping ''Vitamin Q."

While the methaqualone high is similar to that from barbiturates, it has some crucial differences. Most people find that ''ludes'1 give them more energy than barbs, and thus a more euphoric, vital kind of head. While a down freak may get abuzz and soon fall asleep on the couch, people high on methaqualone will generally get too rowdy or horny to nod out_ Rowdy should not necessarily be read as "violent," as the drug generally makes people feel as if they love, or at least like, everyone; which on many occasions leads to imprudent amounts of laughing, wrestling and fucking.

Ah, but there are drawbacks. Tolerance to methaqualone's euphoric effects tends lo develop rapidly, which causes people lo up the dosage. This can be dangerous because the body develops tolerance to the depressant effects less quickly, thereby posing the danger of respiratory failure. Two grams of the chemical can induce a coma in healthy individuals who have no other drugs in their system. The common practice of combining alcohol with ''ludes'1 can be especially perilous, as booze multiplies their depressant effects. The lethal dose of methaqualone, estimated at eight grams, is much smaller when taken with alcohol..

Since it is metabolized in the liver, the drug should not be used by pregnant women or people with any kind of liver impairment. . Side effects can include blurred vision, nausea, headache and a numbness in the extremities. While many argue that methaqualone is addictive and produces specific dependence, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms, this simply has not been proven. However, expeiienced users will, vouch that the Hude'* habit is easy to fall into, and that this '"fun"' drug can be ugly when used immoderately.

Chloral hydrate (trichloroacetaldehyde) is another non barbiturate hypnotic, synthesized in 1831 by Justus von Liebig and introduced by Oscar

Liebrich in 1869 as a sleep inducer. Besides being one of the oldest, chloral is one of the cheapest and most effective soporific drugs on the market.. The liquid was not often used as a recreational high in the eanly days, but it had a brief spate of notoriety when a Gay Nineties4 Chicago saloon keeper named Mickey Finn suiTeptitiously added chloral hydrate "knockout drops" to the drinks of customers he wished to mollify and/or waylay. The drug is currently available in capsule and syrup form (Noctec) and in suppositories (Rectules). While one time considered benign, chloral has been found to be more intoxicating, toxic and addicting than alcohol..

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