What is Mandrax … the White pipe ?

Buttons, white pipe, Mandies – SA, has become the largest user of Mandrax in the world.

Image shows  a quantity of pills of MANDRAX Drug Addict, Road To Recovery

First synthesized in India in the 1950’s Mandrax known in Europe and the USA as Quaaludes. This drug is a central nervous system depressant a synthetic, barbiturate-like recreational drug. Available worldwide from the 1960s until the 1980s, it was a  frequently prescribed sedative in the ’70s and is still illegally and extensively used particularly in South Africa.

The extreme recreational abuse and added addictive properties of Mandrax became apparent around 1976 and it was placed in Schedule II of the Controlled Substance Act making it an illegal drug.

Use of mandrax is South Africa

the war on addiction image shows the white pipe used in mandrax smokimg

While Mandrax was originally meant to be taken orally, users tend to smoke or inject the drug for faster onset of effect.
The favourite mode with South African users is often a ‘bottle neck’ also known as ‘White Pipe’. Mandrax tablets are crushed and often mixed with cannabis, then the concoction is compacted in the neck of a broken glass bottle-neck, lit and smoked.

Mandrax is generally found in off-white or occasionally colourful tablets with a logo imprinted on them under various street names – ‘buttons’, ‘MX’, ‘lizards’ and ‘flowers’, and similar.

What is the makeup of Mandrax?

Originally introduced as a safe barbiturate substitute to help induce sleep, Mandrax tablets were abused and shown to have addiction and withdrawal symptoms similar to barbiturates. The active ingredient, methaqualone, is an anxiolytic (lowers anxiety) and a sedative-hypnotic drug that leads to a state of drowsiness.

Current Mandrax pills, made illegally, may also contain benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or ephedrine. Now manufactured and trafficked only for illicit recreational use Mandrax is synthesized in illegal laboratories. These Illegally produced drugs can contain other central nervous system depressants or even fentanyl.

The Overdose potential

the war on addiction image shows mandrax-tablets

The range of hazardous doses vary extensively. As these drugs are made in illegal labs, the dose and contents of the actual product may vary extensively, putting the abuser at even greater risk.

Mandrax is a central nervous system depressant and an overdose can lead to seizures, coma or death. Other similar drugs are gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and meprobamate, diazepam. (Valium)

For first-time users taking Mandrax can be dangerous as doses of about 8,000 mg can be fatal. Death can result at much lower doses particularly when mixed with alcohol as this increases the depressant effects and upon the state of the user’s tolerance. 

Common side effects of use include:

  • dizziness
  • sweating
  • dry mouth
  • tingling sensation in arms and legs
  • rashes
  • reduced heart rate
  • slowed breathing (respiration).
  • fatigue
  • seizures
  • epilepsy
  • aggression
  • toxic psychosis
  • nausea
  • Vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • itchingloss of muscle control which causes users to fall often

treatment works at houghton houseimage shows mandrax-tablets

Mandrax also causes erectile dysfunction and trouble reaching orgasm. Using at high doses causes mental confusion and poor decision making. Ataxia and loss of bodily control users lacked normal abilities and driving ability was often impaired and led to fatal car accidents under its influence

What are the Signs of mandrax use

  • Mandrax causes increased saliva secretion and drooling from the mouth
  • drowsiness
  • unnatural sleeping patterns
  • loss of appetite
  • yellow stained hands form the bottleneck smoking method
  • rotten teeth
  • swollen abdomen
  • bloodshot eyes
  • gaunt appearance

Physical evidence found

  • brown stained tissues and containers (used to spit into)
  • broken bottles and bottle necks
  • homemade filters – known as a ‘diamond’
  • cardboard or paper in which tablets are crushed

Because of its highly addictive potential and sedating effects Mandrax has a devastating impact on the health, social and economic aspects of South African society.

Houghton House professional staff have much experience in dealing with the physical and mental damage caused by this horribly addictive drug and have had many successes in treating and helping patients afflicted with mandrax addiction issues.

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