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Mandrax (pronounced "mandrakes" and often misspelled as such) is the name of a particular quaalude (or "downer") tablet that was first manufactured in Britain during the late 60s and early 70s. Its active ingredient is Methaqualone, which is chemically and functionally related to barbiturates. Street names for Mandrakes include "mandies," "buttons," "MX," and "white pipe." Mandrax tablets were initially a controlled substance prescribed as a sleeping aid but were pulled off the market and banned because of their extremely high dependancy (addiction) rate.

Though legal production of Mandrax ceased long ago, it is still illegally manufactured in many African and south Asian countries and is fighting a losing battle with crack cocaine on the African drug market. Mandrax tablets were designed to be taken orally but current trends in abuse involve grinding the tablets into powder and snorting them, or more commonly grinding the tablets and mixing them with Dagga before smoking it inside a specialized Dagga pipe (hence the nickname "white pipe"). When taken orally, Mandrax is almost always abused in conjunction with alcohol which serves to magnify the euphoric effects.

Side effects of Mandrax are similar to those of the common anti-depressant--cramps, insomnia, headaches, emotional instability, and so forth, with the added effects of toxin-induced psychosis as well as loss of muscle control.

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has classified Mandrax as a Schedule I drug due to the fact that it contains Methaqualone. Schedule I drugs are illegal to possess without a license in the United States because of the potential for abuse and/or addiction.
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by Siegfried Zaga May 21, 2005
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