The NIDA Blog Team
February 26 2015

Twelve students were hospitalized on February 22, 2015, after taking “Molly” (MDMA, also called “Ecstasy”) and drinking alcohol at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Two students became so ill, they were flown to nearby hospitals. Two others were taken by ambulance.

Molly is a manmade “party” drug that is sometimes taken by young adults at parties, concerts, and dance clubs. It can produce feelings of increased energy, emotional warmth, and empathy toward others. Users may also feel anxious or agitated, become sweaty, get chills, or feel faint or dizzy. They can also get dangerously dehydrated, and deaths have been reported. People that use Molly are often not aware of the health risks or take it because they feel pressured by their friends.

Serious consequences, including death, can also occur when Molly is “cut” or mixed with something else toxic—like the drug called bath salts. We don’t know yet if that happened at Wesleyan, but it has happened a lot in the last few years in other parts of the country.

The crime lab will continue to test this batch of Molly to determine what was is in it so they can better treat those that have gotten seriously ill. Police may also be able to find out more from the students they recently arrested in connection with this case. However, even if they are, in fact, the students that distributed the tainted Molly, they may not disclose the other non-MDMA components of the Molly—if they even know.

Don’t Fool Yourself—There’s No Such Thing as “Safe” Molly

It’s a myth that Molly is “safe” because it’s "pure" MDMA. Even Molly that is pure MDMA is dangerous and can cause death. Unless you are a chemist in lab, it is impossible to know what is in it, or if it is some other drug completely.  Powder sold as Molly can actually contain stimulants, cough medicine, ketamine, caffeine, cocaine, methamphetamine, or bath salts. It can contain whatever the person making the drug wants it to contain. Some Molly doesn’t contain any MDMA at all.

As consumers, we are used to things having safety standards. Food, cosmetics, medicines, household cleaners, over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and even cigarettes have labels that tell us what they contain and what the negative effects can be from taking them.

Illicit drugs like Molly have no safety labels. It seems obvious enough, but illicit drug makers and dealers don’t have to tell people anything. They are not in the business of keeping people safe. They are in the business of making money. And even if the people dealing the drugs are friends, they may lie (they do, after all spend their time doing illegal activity), or they may not even know what is in the drugs they are dealing.

We feel terrible for what the students and their families are going through. And we hope that the very hard lesson they are learning will convince others to skip the Molly experience.

So—does this story make you think any differently about Molly? Tell us what you think.   

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