The club drug Molly, which is a street name for a drug called MDMA, has been linked to an increasing number of deaths recently. This is very troubling for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that many of the deaths related to the designer drug are occurring within teens and young adults. These tragic instances have left many parents and concerned friends wondering exactly what Molly is and why it has risen to popularity as of late.
MDMA in the United States
Although MDMA has been used in the United States since the 1970’s, when some therapists thought that it may have some psychopharmaceutical benefits for disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the drug rose to popularity as a recreational drug in the 1990’s with the arrival of rave culture, a social phenomenon borrowed from Europe.
As MDMA became popular at rave events, it often showed up in the form of a drug called ecstasy, which was generally a pressed pill that often combined MDMA and a wide variety of other drugs, which included methamphetamines, heroin, and hallucinogenic drugs like LSD. Perhaps because these pills varied quite a bit from one to another and often carried with them very severe side effects, they lost popularity and have now been replaced by Molly, which is a powdered version of MDMA that is often snorted or put into capsules.
The Safer Ecstasy?
As Molly became more and more popular, many people began to tout it as a safe alternative to Ecstasy. This dangerous misconception may be the reason that Molly grew in popularity and that a broader group of people began using the drug. In fact, Molly is no safer than any other form of this very toxic substance. It carries with it very severe health risks, and can be deadly.
The idea that Molly is safer because it is “pure” is misleading for a few reasons. Firstly, there is no way of knowing exactly what a street drug like Molly is comprised of. The powdered version of MDMA can be cut with a number of substances, including very strong stimulants like crystal meth or cocaine. Secondly, even if Molly is comprised of only MDMA, it still carries very serious risks. Using Molly can result in death or serious injury from seizure, stroke, overheating, and overdose.
Molly and Raves
Perhaps one of the reason that makes this dangerous drug so pernicious is the fact that it is generally used by people at electronic music festivals or raves. Both raves and MDMA entered the social conscious in the United States around the same time, and for many people, the two go hand in hand. The rise in deaths from this drug may very well be attributed to the rise in popularity of electronic music festivals. These festivals are a terrible place to take an already dangerous drug.
One of the ways that the drug can become fatal is by causing a person to overheat. This is a risk any time Molly is consumed, but this risk is certainly compounded by the environment at raves. Most raves are attended by very large groups of people who very often dance extremely close together in very confined spaces, even if the festival occurs in the middle of a very hot day in the summer in a region of the country that has humid summers, as was the case in the tragic deaths of two teens at the Electronic Zoo Festival in New York last summer. To make matters worse, many rave attendees dance for very long periods of time, which only heightens their risk for a deadly overheating episode.