Medicine: The Deadly Downer

According to its manufacturers, methaqualone is a dependable and effective sleeping pill. Blurbs in the standard Physicians' Desk Reference attest to its "sedative and hypnotic" effects and its ability to induce prompt sleep, but warn that the drug may also produce dependency. The warning is appropriate. Though the drug may be safe if it is taken as prescribed by a physician, increasing numbers of Americans—especially on campuses and in ghettos—are obtaining the drug illegally and taking it indiscriminately. Methaqualone is rapidly becoming one of the most popular —and dangerous—drugs of abuse in the...

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