By: Jamie Jablonowski, RN, BSN
Follow me on Twitter! @jamiejab
Molly has all the qualities of a good date: the drug is popular, available, and cheap. If things go well, you’ll spend $20 dollars, dance for a few hours, and go home. But what if they don’t? Here’s what you need to know:
1. Molly’s real name is 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA.
“Molly” comes from the word “molecular” and refers to the “pure crystalline powder form of MDMA” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
2. Molly won’t last the whole night.
One dose lasts approximately 3 to 6 hours with people taking more as the drug begins to wear off.
3. It is not a new drug; it just has a new name.
It was developed by Merck and Company in 1912 in Germany and during the 1970s and 1980s it was used by psychiatrists to assist with psychotherapy, even though it had not been formally tested or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). During this time, MDMA made its way to the streets for recreational use.
4. It is illegal.
5. It’s synthetic.
This means that anybody can make it with whatever ingredients they may have lying around in their basement. Ever make a cake and run out of oil? You’ll substitute, and so will the person mixing up your drugs. As a result of new branding, Molly has gained the reputation of being “pure” and safer than its predecessor, Ecstasy. However, it has been found to be frequently mixed with other chemicals including ephedrine, dextromethorphan, ketamine, caffeine, cocaine, methamphetamine, and even synthetic cathinones (also known as “bath salts”).
6. It can make you feel really good.
People who take Molly report feelings of euphoria, loss of inhibition, a feeling of closeness with others, and increased sensuality. The drug works by increasing the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The elevated mood is likely related to the high levels of serotonin released. Because of this effect, MDMA is being used in clinical trials to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
7. It can also make you feel really bad.
Unfortunately, once this large amount of serotonin is released, the brain is then depleted of the chemical and this can have effects that last for days after taking the drug. People who have used the drug have described feelings of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia after stopping use. Furthermore, recent research has reported that these effects may be long term.
8. Molly can kill you.
An overdose of MDMA has been associated with seizures, hyperthermia, blood clotting problems, arrhythmias, heart failure, stroke, renal failure, and/or liver failure. Hyperthermia occurs because the drug interferes with your body’s ability to regulate temperature. This combined with hot clubs and hours of dancing can cause dehydration, blood clotting problems, rhabdomyolysis, and kidney failure. Another cause of death is the imbalance of fluid and electrolytes. The effects of MDMA combined with drinking too much water and salt loss due to sweating can cause brain swelling and seizures.
In 2008, a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that MDMA was responsible for 17,865 visits to the Emergency Room. The study also reported that 77.8 percent of emergency room visits involved patients using at least one other drug in addition to MDMA. This past August, it was confirmed that two people died and four were hospitalized from using MDMA while attending the popular music festival Electric Zoo.
With any drug, whether it be Tylenol or cough syrup, or in this case, MDMA, there are benefits and risks. With illegal drugs, though, there are no dosing guidelines, or packaging information including the active ingredients, to refer to and this makes experimenting a lot more dangerous. Plus, at least you know your pharmacist is wearing gloves. You don’t know if the shady person making the powder you’re about to swallow is even washing their hands after they go to the bathroom. Just something to think about the next time a cute girl covered in glitter and fur asks if you want to party.