What is Mandrax?
Mandrax was first produced in mid 1960's. It is highly addictive and
was therefore banned in 1977. It is still illegally sold in South Africa.
Mandrax depresses the central nervous system and is classed as a sedative-hypnotic
drug. It is called Mandrakes, Mandies, MX, Buttons, Whites and many
Originally Mandrax were smooth, firm white tablets with Mx written on
the side of the tablet. Nowadays they can also be grey or yellow in
colour, slightly freckled and with soft crumbly texture. They vary in
colour, size and texture because they sometimes contain other drugs
and are made illegally without keeping to proper standards.
The withdrawal symptoms lead the person back to having another Mandrax
because the person feels so uncomfortable without the drug. The person
may find it difficult to say no to drug offers from friends. The person
often has money and family problems and finds it easier to use than
to face these problems. Often the Mandrax user and their family feel
helpless, frustrated and embarrassed.
Everyone may feel some guilt, anger and hopelessness. Everyone in the
family can have a chance to talk and be helped.
The Mandrax High
This makes a person feel relaxed, peaceful, calm and happy. Worries
disappear and everything feels perfect. However, some people feel irritable,
confused and become aggressive when the high wears off.
A regular Mandrax user will probably have yellow/brown marks on the
hands and will tend to lose weight. The user may start to steal or use
up pocket money rapidly because Mandrax is a fairly expensive habit
to support. A tablet costs about R30.
The person who uses Mandrax for a while finds it necessary to use more
and more. Such a person's body has developed a tolerance to Mandrax
and needs to use more to reach the same effects. Mandrax is also psychologically
addictive. This means that a person will want it badly enough to start
focusing most activities on it. A person may start behaving unusually,
for example stealing or lying in order to get it. They may stop going
to school or work regularly.
Symptoms of Mandrax
Mandrax are usually smoked but can be swallowed or injected. Most people
crush the tablets, mix them with dagga and smoke them in a pipe or bottleneck.
The effects of Mandrax use can last for up to several hours. The person
may lose their appetite and have a dry mouth. Often they have slurred
or mumbled speech. The person may stumble or stagger because they feel
weak and numb. Sometimes stomach pain, nausea and vomiting occur. A
person who is drugged from Mandrax will usually have red, glazed or
puffy eyes as a result of the dagga mixed with the Mandrax. The next
phase is called "earthing"
As the effect of Mandrax wears off, the person feels tired and may go
to sleep. Sometimes the person feels miserable or has a kind of "hangover"
feeling waking from this sleep.
It is difficult to stop taking Mandrax without the treatment or professional
help. Mandrax is also physically addictive. This means that when a person
stops taking Mandrax, withdrawal occurs. Withdrawal may last a few days
and start a few days after stopping use. Some signs of withdrawal are
sleeping problems, nervous, anxious and irritable feelings, headaches,
restlessness and eating problems.
The person using
Mandrax is often trapped. He or she may want to stop but finds this
impossible to do. Counselling is needed along with a very effective