Example: [Collected via e-mail, February 2013]
Origins: In recent months warnings have been circulating about increased usage of a reportedly new and highly dangerous recreational drug called "molly," although news accounts describe it as merely being (a supposedly purer) powder or capsule form of the psychoactive drug MDMA (commonly known in pill form as ecstasy) rather than a new concoction made from a mixture of "cocaine, crack, ecstasy, meth & bath salt":
"You hear Molly in the songs — 'Pop the pill and you're sweating' — and they're like, 'Hmm, something they're interested in' and they want to try," said Rochelle Collins from Project Eden.
Collins is program manager at Project Eden in Hayward. She says more teens, even middle-schoolers, at her outpatient center have mentioned
"They talk about the heart palpitations, the sweating, but they actually enjoy the feeling because they mix it with marijuana which mellows them out. That's where the concern is at," said Collins.
MDMA causes the brain to release a surge of Serotonin leaving it depleted of this important chemical. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, side effects can include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving and anxiety lasting for days or even weeks.
Joseph Pred is an expert in special event medicine in San Francisco and warns young people that they should beware of claims that Molly offered to them is pure MDMA.
"Anytime you're taking an illegal substance, you don't know what you're putting in your body. There's no easy way to test for purity short of a mass spectrometer and most kids don't have that in their back pocket," said Pred.
"It's pure and there is more of it. It is clearly dangerous," said Atlanta DEA Special Agent Harry Sommers.
Sommers told [reporter Justin] Farmer that Molly causes your body to overheat, potentially causing hyperthermia. If untreated, that could lead to seizures, kidney or heart failure, and in rare cases death.
Sommers told Farmer the name "Molly" is just a marketing tool by drug dealers.
"Think about the name, Molly. It sounds like the girl next door. It sounds innocent. It sounds pure. It sounds OK," said Sommers.
Dr. Bob Margolis is executive director of Solutions, an outpatient drug rehab facility for adolescents and young adults.
"There is not a lot of research on this drug, so to say, ‘What are the long-term effects of the drug?' — that we don't know about," said Margolis.
MDMA releases a surge of serotonin, depleting your brain of this important chemical. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the side effects include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving and anxiety which can last days and weeks.
"I have noticed extreme dehydration and people collapsing and things like that," said Colin about some of the people he has witnessed taking Molly.
"It's a crap shoot. So, you're taking a drug you don't know what it is doing to your brain. It is causing your brain to work overtime. It is causing your brain to release chemicals in a way that it was never intended to release normally," said Margolis.
Molly, or MDMA, is a synthetic drug and is part of the amphetamine family. It is a schedule one substance, which means that it has high abuse potential and has no recognized medicinal use. The DEA said the purity of Molly is almost a myth because it comes in powder form and can easily be mixed with other drugs, which makes it even more dangerous.
DEA officials told Farmer it is mainly manufactured in Canada or Asia. It is much more complex to make than meth. Officials said they have busted some Ecstasy labs in Georgia.
KTVU-TV [San Francisco]. "Decades-Old Club Drug Sees Resurgence with Teens." 12 February 2013. WSB-TV [Atlanta]. "Club Drug ‘Molly’ Makes Waves in Atlanta." 12 February 2013.