‘Molly’ sounds harmless, but it can be a killer

The News TribuneNovember 6, 2013 


People dance at the Marquee nightclub in New York on October 3, 2013. A synthetic stimulant known as Molly has suddenly become as much a part of the 24-hour-a-day New York lifestyle as cocaine was to another generation. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)


When pop star Miley Cyrus sings about “dancing with molly,” she’s not referring to a gal pal. The context is clearer in rapper Kanye West’s lyrics: “when we tried our first molly and came out of our body.”

They and other singers, including Rihanna and Madonna, are referring to the euphoria-producing designer drug du jour MDMA, popularly called molly. It has become ubiquitous at clubs and music festivals, where it’s snorted or ingested as pills or capsules. It’s supposedly a pure form of an ingredient typically found in Ecstasy, but often it’s replaced by or cut with caffeine or any number of often toxic ingredients, including bath salts, meth and even rat poison.

Some who have used molly — either in its pure or adulterated form — have been sickened or even died. Over the summer, dozens were treated after overdosing on molly at a music festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre. Emergency rooms all over the country are seeing increases — a hundred-fold in some places — in overdoses caused by molly either alone or in combination with alcohol and other drugs.

While molly began as a club drug, it hasn’t been confined to that scene. It’s gaining popularity among young people who aren’t even old enough to get in many of the clubs where it’s rampant. According to the Chicago Tribune, surveys of teens have noted steep declines in the percentage of those who see molly as dangerous. And the Illinois Youth Survey found that 5 percent of high school seniors had taken the drug at least once in the previous year. It’s likely that those statistics would be similar here.

Drugs and clubs have always gone together, and drugs have long found their way into song lyrics. But the combination of molly’s harmless-sounding name and the free advertising it’s getting from some of music’s biggest stars has gone a long way to making the drug more popular than it otherwise might be.

No party drug is a free ride, and molly can carry a particularly high price. It’s a potentially lethal drug often being manufactured by criminal organizations with no consideration about whether it’s safe or not. When Miley, Kanye or Rihanna extol the good times to be had with molly, they’re probably not thinking about the growing number of their fans that it is harming. They should.

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