Molly: Not Your Mother’s Club Drug

Friday, September 6th, 2013


New York’s end-of-summer music festival Electric Zoo was brought to a tragic end this past weekend after the deaths of two young concertgoers.  The apparent cause was “Molly,” short for “molecule,” considered a pure form of the chemical MDMA, which is also used in Ecstasy.

The incident set off a swarm of media coverage, all claiming that Molly is the latest threat to our youth.  However, the drug isn’t new. We started seeing clients in our programs dependent on Molly about six years ago—and use of the drug has been on the rise ever since. Molly seems to be riding the wave of synthetic drugs, which have increased in popularity over the past few years.

The drug is especially popular during the summer-long span of electronic, jam band, and other music festivals.  But, while “festie season” is now coming to a close, the events at Electric Zoo certainly highlighted Molly’s dangers. Here’s what parents need to know:

  1. “Pure” doesn’t equal safe. Molly lovers tout it as pure MDMA, compared to Ecstasy, which often contains methamphetamine, caffeine, and other ingredients. However, purity doesn’t make a drug any less harmful. MDMA is a stimulant, which means it increases your pulse rate and all your vitals. When combined with heavy exertion, a user could become dehydrated. If taken in large amounts, the drug also has the capacity to cause great damage and as we have tragically seen, overdose and death. A pure drug can produce a stronger reaction, so adverse effects may be even more pronounced.
  2. You don’t know what you’re getting. Despite claims of Molly’s purity, there’s no way to know what’s actually in the powder or crystals. Someone could have mixed up the powder ten minutes earlier using any ingredients. Users say that if Molly is exceedingly bitter, that’s the measure of whether it’s pure. In reality, however, there are lots of substances that taste bitter; cyanide is bitter.
  3. You don’t know how much you’re taking. The drug’s delivery method is also problematic. Typically, users take a pinch of it, and put it on or under their tongue; others consume it in a capsule or mix it in a beverage. For this reason, you really have no idea what dosage you’re taking, especially if you’re at a concert in the dark.
  4. Molly is definitely habit-forming. In treating clients at Phoenix House, I’ve seen people addicted to this drug. Anyone who tries Molly should weigh the benefits of short-lived euphoria against the risks of addiction, as well as the other potential dangers.

Some parents may think they understand Molly because they experimented with Ecstasy in the 80s, but Molly is a different story. It’s important to know the possible consequences and discuss them with teens and young adults.

Most importantly, parents should use their influence on their kids to reduce the demand for party drugs. Young people have been using drugs at dances and concerts for decades—from psychedelics in the 60s to cocaine in the 80s.  If we only target the latest club drug du jour, we’ll never effectively reduce abuse and addiction. Only when we convince young people that they don’t need a mood-altering substance to let loose and have fun can we truly begin to stop the cycle. Now, that would be cause for celebration.

Jack Feinberg
Vice President & Clinical Director
Phoenix House Florida

If you or a loved one needs help for a substance abuse issue, Phoenix House is here for you. Email us or call today at 1 888 671 9392.

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