Concert Deaths: Four Myths About the Drug Molly

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In the last week, three young adults have died after taking apparent overdoses of a drug known on the street as “molly”— two of them over the Labor Day weekend at a New York electronic music festival.

Officials canceled the last day of the event after the deaths and reports that four other attendees were in critical condition after taking the drug. While molly has been around for decades under another name — it was popular among clubbers and psychedelic fans in the 1980s— it’s back again, enjoying a resurgence for its ability to boost feelings of warmth and intimacy. Here’s what experts say about separating fact from fiction.

1) Molly Is a new drug

Molly is the new street name for an old drug formerly known as Ecstasy— popularized in recent songs by Miley Cyrus and Kanye West. Ecstasy, or MDMA— 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine is essentially speed with a psychedelic and empathetic twist.  It can produce a sense of social closeness, bonding and euphoria, which explains its long-standing popularity among club- and party-goers. First synthesized by Merck in the early 1900s, it was not widely available in the U.S. until the 1980s.

In its latest incarnation, molly is supposedly a purer “molecular” (hence the nickname) version of MDMA, which in the past has been cut with everything from caffeine to various amphetamines. But there is no reason to expect that molly is less likely to be free of contaminants than any other illegal drug.

(MORE: Final Day of NYC’s Electric Zoo Festival Canceled After Two Drug-Related Deaths)

“Anybody who propagates the idea that this is purer than anything else— it’s ridiculous,” says Dr. Julie Holland, a psychiatrist in private practice and the editor of Ecstasy:  The Complete Guide, “It’s a white powder. What could be more of a question mark? At least in a tablet someone put some time into putting it together.  But [the name molly] sounds so innocent, like a girl in freckles and pigtails. It’s good marketing.”

In the U.S., use of MDMA rose in the early 2000s, with 15% of college students saying they had tried it in the year 2001. By 2012, its popularity had waned some; 7% of high school seniors and 9% of college students reported using it then.

2) Molly Is safer than other drugs because it’s purer

Since it is actually no more pure than other street drugs, molly’s reputation for safety is unjustified.  “It’s anybody’s guess what they’re taking recreationally,” says Holland. Each hit can range from having no active drug at all to those that could potentially cause overdose.  One common adulterant is PMA, which produces similar similar social bonding effects and belongs to the same class of amphetamine drugs. Many deaths originally attributed to MDMA were later found to be caused by this stand-in drug.

Even if the MDMA is actually MDMA, its risk comes from an ability to raise body temperature, which can cause life-threatening heat stroke, particularly when someone is dancing for hours in a hot, crowded club or concert.

3)  Drinking water makes molly safer

While staying hydrated can reduce the risk of heat stroke associated with MDMA, the drug can also cause the body to retain water, so drinking too much can lead to a potentially fatal electrolyte imbalance.

“You only want to replace what you’re losing through sweat,” says Holland, who cautions against drinking excessive amounts of water. Sports drinks, which replace electrolytes, are actually safer to drink than tap water. And women may be at greater risk for over-hydrating than men, Holland says, because they tend to retain more water, especially before their menstrual periods.

(MORE: Study: Marijuana World’s Most Popular, Least Dangerous Drug)

4)  Mixing It with other drugs can give you a better buzz

That depends. Combining MDMA with alcohol, for example, dampens the high, while also increasing the risk of dehydration , which can lead users to seek out more MDMA and to drink more. Caffeine and other stimulants, however, do increase the effects of MDMA but can also boost the dangers, since they raise the risk of heat stroke by ratcheting up body temperature.

The federal government currently classifies MDMA as a Schedule One drug, which means it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for misuse— it’s in the same category as marijuana and heroin.  That makes research on its effects difficult, but some scientists are investigating how it might help in treating conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The drug acts on the brain chemical serotonin, which is involved in mood, and also seems to affect the “love hormone” oxytocin, which is involved in bonding.  So the idea is to provide it to patients for a few therapy sessions only, as a way to build and restore a sense of trust and safety so that they can move past their traumatizing memories.

And so far, the results look promising. But that type of short-term, highly monitored use in treatment can’t compare to taking an illegal drug of uncertain purity in a chaotic environment among strangers. Its feel-good reputation may give users a false sense of security and obscure the drug’s risks. But as the recent deaths show, feeling good on molly may come with too high a price.

114 comments
www.bulksmsbase.com
www.bulksmsbase.com

"In the last week, three young adults have died after taking apparent overdoses of a drug known on the street as “molly”— two of them over the Labor Day weekend at a New York electronic music festival". This is too bad.

www.bulksmsbase.com
www.bulksmsbase.com

Mixing It with other drugs can give you a better buzz.
The federal government currently classifies MDMA as a Schedule One drug, which means it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for misuse— it’s in the same category as marijuana and heroin.  That makes research on its effects difficult, but some scientists are investigating how it might help in treating conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

JohnMcKeane
JohnMcKeane

hahaha, this is so biased it's hilarious!

joconnor888
joconnor888

"But that type of short-term, highly monitored use in treatment can’t compare to taking an illegal drug of uncertain purity in a chaotic environment among strangers."


Agreed. However, I think drug deaths at concerts can be decreased significantly by tackling the problem head-on. At the end of this new report about drug deaths at concerts, there is a section about solutions, and a few of them really could make a huge difference: http://www.clickitticket.com/drug-deaths-at-concerts/


For example:

Testing concert-goers’ Molly supply

Making testing kits available for free

Reminding concert-goers via flyers and jumbotrons

MaxSimms-Walker
MaxSimms-Walker

MDMA is not essentially speed with a psychedelic edge to it in fact it works on completely different neurotransmitters in MDMA's case it mainly stimulates the release of serotonin and has little affinity for dopamine and noradrenaline receptors which is what amphetamines such as speed, meth and cocaine release. If you were to say MDMA's chemical structure is similar to amphetamine as it has a methamphetamine tail hence MDMAs name 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine and that MDMA produces a very slight amphetamine effect due to little amounts of dopamine and noradrenaline than you would be more correct. Now I am not trying to say MDMA is not without its negative effects however since MDMA barely stimulates dopamine release the drug in its self is not considered to have very high addictive potential as apposed to cocaine, meth and speed as these drugs which release dopamine cause cravings for the drug because dopamine is released into our reward pathway of our brain (mesolimbic dopamine pathway) creating a positive feed back to take more of the drug. Now I know that you did not state that MDMA is addictive but I thought that I should share a another positive myth about MDMA as to why it is in fact in some regards more safer than other illicit substances causing significantly less deaths per yeah than alcohol, tobacco and other scheduled substances although obviously more people consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes than people consume MDMA. Although MDMA is still not healthy to take and there does seem to be evidence to suggest to some extent neurtoxicity i.e. damage of serotonin receptors aswell as free radicals that are produced that cause neuronal death but I think it is fair to state that  MDMA causes less harm to society than say meth, cocaine, heroin and in many respects alcohol and tobacco. Although creating a harm index is hard to determine as different drugs cause different negative effects. This is obviously a controversial statement to make and the drug should still be scheduled but many scientists would agree that MDMA may in fact be in the wrong class of scheduled substances and in my opinion scheduling a drug on perceived medical use is ridiculous for example LSD is scheduled above heroin and cocaine because LSD has no medical use despite causing no deaths, addiction potential as well as neurotoxicity. Furthermore as this article already alludes to one of the main problems with recreational MDMA use is obtaining pure MDMA which often makes it difficult to infer evidence of damaging effects that MDMA has in chronic users as they often take drugs in combination with other substances making it hard to conclusively to determine the damage done by MDMA. This comment is not trying to advocate the use of MDMA but rather give a more fair overall picture as to  why MDMA in some respects in not as bad as other scheduled drugs I mean think about how many people do you see in rehab/homeless/ committing MDMA related crimes (not including dealing of MDMA) as compared to drugs like heroin, meth and even alcohol just think about that for a second.

dsj1992
dsj1992

This is absolutely ridiculous. Instead of addressing the actual dangers of the drug and or its harmful side effects, you just gave everyone who reads this article a what and what not to do list when taking the drug. You briefly skimmed over its history, dangers, a myth, and then talked about how it could be used to cure PTSD 'potentially'. You gave a mile long and an inch deep overview of the drug. As a writer you're supposed to dispel rumors and explain what is going on, not give a checklist on what and what not to do when taking Molly. I'm writing this as a college student who has been to many concerts where its used, and it depends on the crowd that the concert is attempting to draw. The deaths from two weeks ago were at an electro/ house/ dance concert, not a regular party, a scene notorious for euphoric drug use. More facts, less potential use of garbage.

mcmca809
mcmca809

Ok so two of these myths aren't actually myths are they? You should drink water(just not enough to kill you), and mixing mdma with other drugs can give you a better buzz.

WhatsInMyBaggie
WhatsInMyBaggie

I am working on a documentary project titled "What's In My Baggie? A Documentary on the Rise of Misrepresented Substances in America."

http://whatsinmybaggie.com/the-film/

NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE TAKING.

Nearly 100% of substances are cut with one or more adulterant. More often than not, Synthetic Cathinones more commonly referred to as “Bath Salts” are being sold as misrepresented MDMA, whereas “LSD” is replaced with a wide variety of Research Chemicals that induce similar psychoactive effects.

Organizations like The Bunk Police & DanceSafe (just to name a few) attend these festivals, and are often forced to distribute their Substance Test Kits under the radar and with risk of punishment from festival organizers, or worse, law enforcement.

Riley
Riley

I'm trying to find the story here... What I'm hearing is that the main dangers of drugs sold as MDMA are 1) the fact that their purity is uncertain (since the only source is from criminals) and 2) they can pose health risks IF users aren't educated about how to minimize them (and the cops go hassling anyone trying to share that information, since it "encourages drug use".)How do folks get away with repeating the same glaring logical fallacy - that drugs are illegal because they're dangerous, and they're dangerous because they're illegal.We'll know we've evolved as a society when we longer allow people die from impure drugs because we believe our intoxicants to be morally superior to theirs, but instead let people make their own decisions, and give them the tools to do it safely.

rusty44
rusty44

Oh, please! How many people were at that concert? And TWO died? May they rest in peace, but there were more births and deaths than that at Woodstock. I don't know about Burning Man, but I'd imagine the same, particularly given the desert setting of Burning Man.

How many people listened to the "Reefer Madness" propaganda? Certainly not anybody who smokes.

Legalize ALL drugs, control the prices and the purity, and spend the money being wasted on the failed "War on Drugs" on something worthwhile ... food, education, healthcare, etc.

JJMcMoon
JJMcMoon

Please do your research.  MDMA is NOT the same as Ecstacy, which is a mix of drugs, one of which happens to be MDMA.  Also, MDMA is NOT white, and it's NOT a powder.  It's yellow and crystalline, like crystal methamphetamine.  A cursory google search could have provided these details, so again, please do your research.

SeaTeaSnow
SeaTeaSnow

MDMA, also known as ecstasy, has been used by partiers since the 1980s, but it really didn't come into national popularity until the early 1990s, when raves and dance clubs featuring trance and other electronic music became popular. 

"Molly" comes from Molecule, suggesting a purer experience than Ecstasy pills, which were often loaded with crap like fillers and other, cheaper drugs. The problem today is that the drugs these kids are buying have barely any MDMA in them, and they are, like their 1990s counter parts, filled with crap... 

I would bet my life on it that the drugs they died from were NOT pure Molly, but instead cut with garbage filler by drug dealers. 

Today, criminals are getting into dealing ecstasy, MDMA, Molly... and they are cutting it with all sorts of garbage. They do this to increase the profitability. Perhaps if drugs selling weren't so profitable because of the Drug War, these scum bags selling garbage wouldn't sell Molly to kids (because there is no money it).

Thanks to the failed Drug War, drug prices are through the roof, and that attracts criminals to act of selling drugs. 

frizzo144
frizzo144

Molly is a nickname for Molybdenum, which I would never consider ingesting.

RaceBaker
RaceBaker

It's been called Molly for at least 10 years. Only idiots call it that. And you have to go through idiots to get it. Your kids are all idiots! Get them a better a taste in music.. maybe by artists who prefer LSD or psilocybin to something called "Molly" which has no mind-expanding benefits whatsoever. It's just used to see tracers and get real aroused. 

deephouser
deephouser

If you get a capsule of “molly” and it is more than ¼ to 1/3 full…you did not get molly.  You probably got a research chemical masquerading as molly.

owik303
owik303

as a user of molly (MDMA) probably over 250 times in my life as well as being a molecular scientist by profession I feel i have some credentials to talk about the substance called molly. One, good molly comes in rocks like crack but softer, ideally clear but can turn yellowish to brown as it oxidizes over time. MDA like others have said is much more psychedelic than MDMA which is decently methy from my experiences, but varies a lot. As a professional party goer I would recommend taking L-arginine and 5HTp at least once a day for a few days prior to ingesting MDMA, as there are the precursor molecules to serotonin and dopamine which MDMA seriously depletes, this will help you avoid much to nearly all of the hang over and low people experience the fallowing day as well as insure adequate neurotransmitters necessary for your brain to function and even boost your high or the duration of your high. 


To me it sounds like those who passed, which is unfortunate, took molly that was cut with some other bad ingredients and probably took a lot more than what a typical user would (1-3 tenths of a gram) like anything people will push the limits of abusing it. Also multiple peer reviewed studies demonstrate that MDMA is multiple fold more addictive then cocaine. 


P.S. the absolutely worse thing you can do if your taking molly and concerned about you brain health is to take it multiple days in a row, that is when you are the most risk for neurotransmitter depletion and permanent damage.


jeffrow63
jeffrow63

Who writes these articles? People who actually do the drug laugh at them. I have never seen Molly as a white powder. It is little gold crystals. Ecstasy is the pill form. People who die from Molly are either stupid enough to OD or very unlucky. Some people overdo everything. Like everything else, moderation is the key.

bjlowry
bjlowry

“Anybody who propagates the idea that this is purer than anything else— it’s ridiculous,” says Dr. Julie Holland, a psychiatrist in private practice and the editor of Ecstasy:  The Complete Guide, “It’s a white powder. What could be more of a question mark? At least in a tablet someone put some time into putting it together.  But [the name molly] sounds so innocent, like a girl in freckles and pigtails. It’s good marketing.”

Sorry Dr. Holland...but if you're getting white powder for your Molly, you're not getting good Molly. 

RandallBart
RandallBart

Another myth:  MDMA raises body temperature.  MDMA encourages behavior that leads to dehydration and overheating, but MDMA has no direct effect on body temperature. 

JohnJohnMiller
JohnJohnMiller

MDA and MDMA are not the same thing.  They are different on a molecular level and they create different effects.  MDA produces much more visual effects while mdma is a body/feeling with slight visuals.  


And for the record, just because it has methamphetamine in the molecular name does not make it meth....its chemistry...

chisq
chisq

Thank you Miley, thank you Kanye... Hope you two can sleep at night? Or at least hope you dream of the dead kids while you try to do so!!


squidburns
squidburns

It's been called Molly for over a decade now... 

JDavis73
JDavis73

Shouldn't the first heading be 'Molly is NOT a new drug' if it was first synthesized in 1912 and was being recreationally used from the 70's on?  If MDMA is considered a "new" drug, then the polio vaccine must still be considered bleeding edge.

realexpressive
realexpressive

Ok I had to comment just to say... Ectsasy is not another name for Molly, Molly is another name for Ecstasy! It's like saying marijuana is another name for pot. 

StevenHillmuffin
StevenHillmuffin

@dsj1992 Well, if you compare the sensationalism over LSD etc back in the 60's and 70's I think she did a good job....straight info, no "look, my cat is tripping too...how cute", ha ha ha ha!

jminwv83
jminwv83

@WhatsInMyBaggie Exactly right, I'm not just gonna take some street dealers word that the white powder they are selling is what they say it is. I don't know how reliable the test kits are but if you are intent on using a street drug I would definitely try to use a test kit.

Dale_Bewan
Dale_Bewan

@WhatsInMyBaggie I find your comment regarding LSD to be interesting as it doesn't quite match my experience.

I'm in the process of self-publishing a book about LSD (should be on Amazon within the next few weeks with the title "Dropping Acid") and during my writing have been doing quite a lot of research in to aspects such as "LSD that isn't real LSD".  In my findings, around 96% of LSD sold on the Silk Road marketplace from sellers that have significant positive feedback is in fact LSD with the remaining 4% being a variety of substances, with 25C-NBOMe and 25I-NBOMe being highly represented.  That said however, due to my own location, I was only reasonably able to test substances sold in Europe.  I wonder if it's a regional difference, or perhaps the Silk Road feedback/rating system is actually capable of weeding out inferior sellers?

If you'd like more information that might be helpful for your documentary, I am open to direct contact from you.

mcmca809
mcmca809

Ecstasy is supposed to only contain mdma. Any other ingredients are just filler.

MisterZero
MisterZero

@owik303  writes: "P.S. the absolutely worse thing you can do if your taking molly..."

Keep in mind folks, this is a Molecular Scientist by Profession.

MisterZero
MisterZero

@owik303  writes: "P.S. the absolutely worse thing you can do if your taking molly"

Keep in mind folks, this is a Molecular Scientist by Profession.

Riley
Riley

"Also multiple peer reviewed studies demonstrate that MDMA is multiple fold more addictive then cocaine. "

Beg your pardon?

Inuyasha
Inuyasha

Hi thanks for the info, just wanted to see what your take on WebMD's recommendation on not taking it because it says it may be unsafe? Some people taking it has come down with EMS syndrome. It says don't use until more is known. I will purchase the L-arginine for now. BTW just like most people say...moderation is key....if you over-do it then you have it coming for you. Everyone should know their own tolerance and take the steps to be safe. Another saying goes "If you can't handle the drugs or alcohol then don't do it, don't ruin it for everyone else." I hate people who get drunk and get out of control or high and out of control....if you can't be cool and have a good vibe then don't do it....period.

RIP to those who perished...always party safe and watch out for eachother.....


Coolcat123
Coolcat123

@owik303 Sounds like you forgot to take your own advice in the "P.S."   Your own "brain health" appears to be in poor condition for you to write such a comment.  I suggest you seek help from a real professional and stop diagnosing yourself. 

gb1
gb1

@JDavis73 the headline read 4 myths not 4 facts so the wording was correct.

JohnStamos
JohnStamos

maybe I'm wrong.....but isn't exstasy a combo of drugs? where molly is simply MDMA (of course dealer could be sketchy)

StevenHillmuffin
StevenHillmuffin

@Dale_Bewan @WhatsInMyBaggie : Yup...it's just so much cheaper than LSD (I've heard quotes of up to $24,000/gram!)   And isn't it interesting how things have reversed since the old days? Then it was LSD sold as mushrooms or a little pill called "synthetic mescaline" or psilocybin....if you need any tech support on yer book, I was a medicinal chemist for several decades...made everything and sure did try everything too  ;p

Thus I missed out on most of the street stuff....I love the NBOME compounds as I loved 2-CB, etc and they're (so far) legal....main thing is to keep 'em locked up so the kiddies don't say, "Hey, look at this white powder....must be cocaine! Let's snort a line   " Oooops....Common sense applies, and an accurate scale...cheers..............


SeaTeaSnow
SeaTeaSnow

@JohnStamos  In the 1990s, "my friends" got really good pure "ecstasy" from San Francisco which tiny 1/3 filled capsules with cream-colored crystalline powder, and that stuff was very pure and clean. We would call that ecstasy, also, "pure capsules". We also got "beans" or "pills" that had all sorts of garbage in them, we're stamped with characters (doves, Rolexes, Mercedes), and we called them ecstasy pills. So, basically anything with MDMA in them, we called, I mean... "my friends" called it ecstacy. It was a general term. 


realexpressive
realexpressive

@JohnStamos I suppose it's up in the air, I considered "ecstasy" anything with MDMA, even if it was cut with something else. I was offered "pure" plenty of times but never heard it called molly until recently. Now, everyone says molly is ecstasy, period. So I think you're actually right, but still molly is a form of ecstasy, ectsasy is not a form of molly! Lol semantics, I know.

Dale_Bewan
Dale_Bewan

@StevenHillmuffin In case you're interested, the book is now available; both on that CreateSpace link I posted as well as on Amazon (as both an eBook and paperback).

RandallBart
RandallBart

@StevenHillmuffin  LSD is very inexpensive.  In 1995, I bought a sheet (100 hits) for $40, I have heard of sheets going for as little as $11, and I have heard the price of making the sheet is $6.  Maybe it has gone up since the 1990s but I am sure it is still low.  

EricBencivenga
EricBencivenga

@StanParaduxHicks @Coolcat123 @owik303 no molecular scientist would be doing drugs thats the first red flag right there those guys get checked and rechecked for both theft and abuse of drugs. 2nd no molecular scientist would say what he was saying this guy is just some guy pretending to get som credit to his internet name you would do well to not trust every "scientist" on the internet