What is Molly and How Can It Kill You?
Molly has been marketed to teens and young adults as pure MDMA by dealers across the country, and those who take the drug believe they’re taking pure MDMA. But according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, only 13% of Molly contains any MDMA whatsoever.
There is a widespread misconception that the club drug Molly, famously praised by Miley Cyrus in the song “We Can’t Stop,” contains only pure MDMA (also known as ecstasy), a drug that alters the mind to bring on feelings of euphoria. CASAColumbia first started hearing about Molly in 2011 from high school students in our teen survey focus group. Though Molly had been around for almost ten years, it was really starting to gain popularity among young people in the US at that time. The teens told us, “It’s a powder, so you know it’s pure MDMA.” Many of them believed that Molly was somehow healthier than other drugs because it was believed to be pure.
Molly has been marketed to teens and young adults as a safe, pure form of MDMA by dealers across the country, and those who take the drug believe they’re taking pure MDMA. We were startled by these dangerous misconceptions. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, only 13% of Molly contains any MDMA whatsoever, but even pure MDMA is far from “safe.”
MDMA is a synthetic drug that acts as a hallucinogen and stimulant. Use of MDMA can cause increased heart rate, heavy sweating, teeth clenching, chills and in some instances, a very sharp increase in body temperature that can lead to organ failure and death. Users often experience dehydration (which can lead to overheating, convulsing and seizing), as well as depression, paranoia, anxiety and confusion. Research on animals suggests that the long term consequences of MDMA use can include damage to the parts of the brain associated with mood, thinking, verbal memory and judgment. Frequent users of the drug report withdrawal symptoms, including depression, fatigue, loss of appetite, and trouble thinking.
Molly, however, rarely contains pure MDMA. When tested, Molly is typically found to contain a combination of dangerous synthetic and other drugs, including the same ingredients found in the drug called “bath salts.” The synthetic drugs found in Molly can cause chest pains, paranoia, hallucinations, psychotic and violent behavior, dehydration, kidney failure and, in several instances, death. Molly samples have also been found to contain addictive drugs, such as methamphetamine, heroin, ketamine, PCP and amphetamines. The ingredients in Molly have been implicated in the emergency room visits and deaths of people who assumed they were taking pure MDMA.
It is imperative that people understand that regardless of what their drug dealer tells them, they never truly know what combination of chemicals they are purchasing. While pure MDMA is far from safe, the adulterated drug sold as Molly is even more dangerous- is has killed people and caused reactions that require emergency medical and psychiatric intervention.
Emily Feinstein, JD
Emily Feinstein is Director of Health Law and Policy at CASAColumbia