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Molly Drug Abuse

“Molly” is the most widely used slang term for the club drug methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA). It was initially created in 1912 by a chemist at the pharmaceutical company Merck. MDMA saw its first applications by a small set of psychotherapists in the late 70s and early 80s.a

  • By 1985, the drug received a Schedule I classification from the federal government.

There are several reasons why it is so popular among clubs and concertgoers. First, this drug creates feelings of euphoria and heightened sensory perception. Second, it is known as an empathic drug because it increases feelings of closeness to others.

Whether snorted, injected, or commonly taken in capsule form, its effects kick in 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion.

German chemists developed the psychoactive substance more than 100 years ago. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration made it illegal in 1984. The result was a spike in popularity at all-night parties known as “raves.”

  • The slang name comes from a derivative of a molecule.

Often classified as a “club” or “designer” drug, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that it became the drug of choice in nightclubs and the dance music scene.

The chemical makeup of MDMA causes neurotransmitters to flood the brain with serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Thus, it causes psychedelic and stimulant effects in combination. This chemical cocktail brings about feelings of euphoria, increased sociability, a sense of inner peace, mild hallucinations, and enhanced sensation, perception, and sexuality.

  • Generally found in pill or powder form, users either ingest or inhale the drug.
  • Molly is rarely smoked, as it tends to diminish the effects.

It affects a person may experience within an hour or so after taking a single dose, including:

  • Feelings of mental stimulation
  • Emotional warmth
  • Empathy toward others
  • General sense of well-being
  • Decreased anxiety

In addition, users report enhanced sensory perception as part of the experience. Depending on the dosage and a user’s tolerance, effects tend to peak anywhere from 75 to 120 minutes after taking it. As the drug-induced euphoria levels off, users continue to experience a dissipation for as long as three and a half hours.

Often pitched by drug dealers as pure, the DEA reported from 2011 to 2015, only 13 percent of the drug seized in New York state contained any MDMA at all.

Instead, what is available as pure MDMA contained any number of other dangerous chemicals.

  • “You’re playing Russian roulette if you take these compounds,” Al Santos, associate deputy administrator for the DEA, told CNN, “because we see significant batch-to-batch variances.”

Much of what is available as “molly” is unknown synthetic compounds that skirt U.S. laws by altering the molecular makeup of already illegal substances.

Some of the “molly” is smuggled in from Canada or Mexico or made in the states. However, most of the drug supply comes from underground labs in China that sell their compounds online.

Its reputation as a party drug has created a dangerous demand.

  • Even test centers, which are more and more common at music festivals, cannot always identify bulking agents.
  • They can only inform users as to whether the MDMA is pure or not. It’s then up to the individual whether to take the drug.

It goes by different street names, including:

  • Ecstasy
  • “E”
  • XTC or X
  • Mandy -U.K.

As with most illicit and illegal drugs, serious adverse side effects, both long and short term, can arise after the temporary “high” ends. Side effects may include any of the following:

  • Confusion
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Tension
  • Anxiety
  • Poor judgment
  • Convulsions

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the demographic most likely to abuse this drug is 18 to 25.

More than 13 percent of people in that age group admit to using the drug at least once in their life, and more than 4 percent admit to taking it in the past year.

Even more disturbing, NIDA reports that almost 7 percent of children 12 or older also confess to using MDMA at least once.

  • Hyperthermia, overheating the body which can lead to liver failure
  • Dehydration
  • Intense sweating and perspiration
  • Teeth grinding
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mild hallucinations and altered sense of time
  • Increased emotions and heightened feelings of sexuality
  • Increased confidence, sociability, and a reduction in anxiety
  • Irritability, anxiety, and chronic depression

Because MDMA depletes the brain from so many neurotransmitters and creates a lack of serotonin, individuals who have consumed the substance over the weekend can experience anxiety and depression days after using it.

  • The nickname for this is “suicide Tuesdays.”

Other symptoms that can last from a few days to a week are:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability

Intense physical activity (dancing) and a warm environment can cause kidney failure and even possible death. Especially susceptible to overdose are teenagers and first-time users.

Sadly, a college senior – Joana Burns – died after taking it at a club for her pre-graduation party.

  • Even a “one-off” experiment is dangerous. There are very few ways to be sure the drug does not contain hazardous synthetic chemicals.

While it remains a narcotic schedule, a substance with no accepted medical use, some physicians and psychiatrists express an interest in the drug’s ability to help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. An even more recent study looks at how it might help those suffering from alcoholism.

  • Because it makes users feel uninhibited, researchers believed the compound might have some therapeutic benefits.

Even with authorities on high alert at these events, two teenage girls fatally overdosed in August of 2015 at a music festival in Pomona.

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