Shortly before Andrea Constand claims he sexually assaulted her, Bill Cosby passed her three blue pills which he called “friends.”
Prosecutors at his sexual assault trial on Friday suggested there was reason to believe the drugs were something else, the Los Angeles Times reported. In a previous testimony given last year, Cosby acknowledged that decades ago he got seven prescriptions for sedative drugs called Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with.
A toxicologist called to testify by prosecutors last week said both drugs can have sedative effects that would make a user feel foggy-headed or sleepy.
Benadryl vs. quaaludes
After Cosby gave Constand the pills at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004, she claims he penetrated her with his fingers against her will. She felt so limp, she said at the deposition, that she could not push him away or tell him to stop. When Costand called Cosby a year later to ask what the drugs were that he gave her, she said he told her he didn’t have the name on hand.
“He said he would write it down on a piece of paper and mail it to us,” said Constand.” “He said that he could not see right now the bottle that he wanted to see.”
Regular Benadryl is pink. Only the kind that is marketed for allergies “and sinus” is blue. In 2005, when Cosby provided police with some of the medication to show that he kept them on hand, the pills he handed over were pink. Montgomery County police officer James Reape, who investigated the case, said on the stand that he “found that to be odd,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Quaaludes, on the other hand, are more powerful sedatives that are now illegal.
By suppressing the central nervous system, Quaaludes slow breathing and heart rate, often making users feel relaxed or sedated — effects that are similar to those of modern so-called “date-rape drugs” like “roofies” or Rohypnol, drugs that did not exist at the time of most of the alleged violations against Cosby (virtually all of which have essentially expired due to statute of limitations laws).
Since being first produced in labs in India in 1955, doctors in the UK began prescribing it to patients who had trouble sleeping. Quaaludes didn’t hit peak popularity in the US until the 1970s, when people at dance clubs who took them called them “disco biscuits.” Ten years later, the drugs were outlawed after they were found to be dangerous and potentially deadly.
On Friday, forensic toxicologist Timothy Rohrig testified for the prosecution that Constand’s symptoms could have been linked to several drugs, including Quaaludes and Benadryl, according to the Times.
“Most people think of [Benadryl] as an antihistamine … but one of the actions is it can cause significant sedation,” Rohrig said. Prosecutors then asked if the drugs could be strong enough to be used with criminal intent.
“It has been used in a drug to facilitate sexual assault,” said Rohrig.
In February, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center released a report warning the public about the growing use of Benadryl by predators to incapacitate their victims, describing a mixture that people had created as a “Benadryl Cocktail.”
The jury for the Cosby trial is currently deadlocked. If they jury can not reach a verdict, it will result in a mistrial.