The more the world talks about Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance, the more we can’t help but also talk about “molly”–the newest drug on the scene that she refers to in her song “We Can’t Stop” and has also been accused of having taken before going on stage. The name of the drug, Molly, stands for “molecule” and is properly known as “MDMA.” It’s thought to be a very pure form of Ecstasy, and is meant to be mixed with other drugs which presents the biggest danger because users of the substance don’t actually know they are consuming.
Syracuse University published a study in New York revealing that “20% of the participants responded that they had tried Molly. One third of those students also stated that they did not know the ingredients of the drug they had ingested.”
While no party-drug is safe, Molly has gained a reputation for seeming more dangerous than other illegal substances because it can be a combination of both an upper and a downer when the user thinks they’re actually getting a more pure form of ecstasy–an upper. When combined with a downer–or any other unknown substance, the results can be very unpredictable.
Is Molly truly any more dangerous than drugs such as cocaine or oxycontin?
“In fact,” explains Syracuse University researchers, “Molly can be TFMPP mixed with another substance or it can be a mixture of MDMA and baking powder, plant fertilizer, or any combination of chemical substances that can be harmful or fatal.”
Apparently the drug first gained it’s wider awareness through hip-hop music. Just this week, hip-hop artists Rick Ross, Future and Rocko released what is being referred to as the “most controversial song to reference use of the drug yet” because of it’s reference to assisting in date rape. The lyric is “…put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. I took her home and enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.”
Columbia University doctoral candidate, Allison Turza Bajger, argues that Molly is no different than any other drug. “The danger of any drug depends on the dose at which it is taken. At one dose a drug can be therapeutic, and at another dose it can be toxic.”
New School for Social Research doctoral candidate, Ingmar Gorman, supports Bajer’s argument, noting that its initial creation in 1912 was designed my Merck pharmaceuticals to serve as a “blood-clotting agent.” It wasn’t until 1970 when it began to be used illegally and recreationally.
“The substance was then used in psychotherapeutic sessions between the mid-1970s and early 1980s,” explains Alternet.org. “It is estimated that 500,000 doses of MDMA were employed as therapy tools during this time period. MDMA was legal and unregulated until 1985, when it was classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it had no medical value, high potential for abuse and was unsafe even when its use was supervised.”
Recovering teen drug-user Richard describes a past experience with the drug, adding that he eventually blacked out. “I snorted it and I got dizzy, and saw black and red flashing lines in my eyes. I didn’t like it but when I couldn’t find a drug to do I used it.”
The altered state and side-effects of the drug can persist for up to 6 hours, and cause the brain to release large amounts of Seratonin–also known as the happy hormone in our brains. “This may account for the characteristic feelings of emotional closeness and empathy produced by the drug; studies in both rats and humans have shown that MDMA raises the levels of these hormones,” explains DrugAbuse.gov.
While hospital visits from Molly were nowhere near that of cocaine and marijuana in 2001, drug overdose deaths from all types of drugs are constantly on the rise. The CDC reporter in 2010 that “there were 38,329 drug overdose deaths nationwide. Medicines, mostly prescription drugs, were involved in nearly 60% of overdose deaths that year, overshadowing deaths from illicit narcotics.”
Is Molly really anymore dangerous than any other drug? Most likely not. Instead, it’s just what’s being most talked about these days.
Written by: Ginger Vieira