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December 9, 1974

Methaqualone Abuse In Europe

Author Affiliations

Heidelberg, Germany
San Francisco

JAMA. 1974;230(10):1389. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240100019017

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To the Editor.—  While products containing methaqualone (especially Mandrax [Britain], which also contains diphenhydramine hydrochloride) were available for many years to US troops in Europe, especially from the German economy, very little evidence of abuse of this drug existed until 1972. From 1972 to the present, Mandrax abuse by US Army troops has steadily increased. For example, about ten admissions per month during 1972 were related to the toxic effects or overdose of that particular drug. This represented 5% of the total drug-abuse admissions at that time. During 1973, the admissions increased to an average of 60 per month (12% of the total drug-abuse admissions), while the first half of 1974 showed similar rates, but with a slightly downward trend of total drug abuse.Urinalysis testing for methaqualone was developed by the US Air Force Laboratory in West Germany during 1973, using a thin-layer chromatography procedure for screening the urine