Molly, also known as legal E, legal X, or misty, is a pure form of 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)–the active ingredient in Ecstasy. It is marketed to adolescents and young adults as a “safer” alternative to ecstasy, which is one reason so many young people try it without hesitation. This increasingly popular recreational drug is now a staple at most concerts, music festivals and colleges around the country. It is a centerpiece of young adult drug abuse and poses serious risks to users.
The drug is most commonly seen in a white powder form and can be eaten, snorted, taken in capsules, or “parachuted” (swallowed inside a folded piece of toilet paper or tissue). When taken, users initially feel euphoric, energetic, and able to connect easily with others, making it the new drug of choice at parties, “raves,” concerts, and electronic dance music festivals.
How Did Molly Become a Young Adult Drug Abuse Trend?
Pop culture tends to influence drug culture. More specifically, music often influences which drugs become popular. In the 60s, the Grateful Dead’s music went hand in hand with acid and today the ascent of electronic dance music (EDM) has brought molly along with it, leading to a new form of young adult drug abuse.
While Molly used to be seen mainly at nightclub raves in the 90s, popular hip-hop artists recently started making music with EDM artists, therefore bringing two music cultures together—molly has become EDM’s most noteworthy contribution to this new integrated music scene.
Countless pop musicians from Jay-Z to Madonna to Kanye West reference molly in their lyrics. The melodies and beats of their songs are often designed to mimic the “rolling” feeling that molly produces. Both of these factors encourage the abuse of molly.
The Dangers of Molly
One of New York City’s most popular electronic dance music festivals, Electric Zoo, was just cancelled after two people died and four were hospitalized, apparently from using molly—that’s how dangerous it is.
The Drug Abuse Warning Network reports that the number of emergency room visits related to molly have doubled since 2004. Young people are being led to believe that molly is safe because of its “purity” and absence of additive chemicals (a common issue with ecstasy). However, the short 30-minute high can cause teens to suffer damage to their brains and other vital organs. Also, because molly is in such high demand, cheap imitations are being produced from household chemicals, making it all the more dangerous.
Young adult drug abuse carries with it a number of hazards including addiction, high risk behaviors (due to lowered inhibitions, impaired judgment, confusion, etc.), and physical problems. Although molly isn’t considered addictive, its side effects can include anxiety, fever, dehydration, uncontrollable seizures, depression, and blood pressure spikes that can lead to coma. The hangover some experience after being high on molly is so awful that one nickname is “suicide tuesdays.”
Molly users tend be between the ages of 16 and 24, and recent survey of 1,500 students at Virginia Commonwealth University reported that 15% of the student body admitted to using the drug within the last 30 days, which is in line with the national average.