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By Matthew Grimson

The powerful sedative Bill Cosby admits he gave a woman before sex is famously linked with the 1970s and 1980s party scenes.

Quaaludes were originally introduced in 1965 as a non-addictive alternative to barbiturates, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The sedative writhes into the central nervous system, acting as a muscle relaxant with a hypnotic effect.

Recreational use of the drug exploded in the Ford and Carter years. "Luding out" — taking pills with alcohol — become a popular activity among college students.

A Quaalude bottle.

But by the mid-1980s, the drug was outlawed — and its central chemical, methaqualone, was added to the Controlled Substances Act.

Quaaludes returned to the mainstream two years ago after playing a key role in Martin Scorsese's raucous film "The Wolf of Wall Street." Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill play financial crooks who get so high on "ludes" they can barely walk or speak.

Many of Cosby's accusers tell stories of blacking out after being offered pills by the embattled comedian. He has denied the accusations of sexual assault.