After a number of years where usage declined, the Drug Enforcement Administration reports an increased prevalence of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) among American youth. Of course when kids talk about it they just call it “Molly.” Molly is the same drug that was popular in the 1990s and early 2000s under the street names Ecstasy, XTC, Adam, and Essence.
According to multiple sources, many users think Molly/MDMA/Ecstasy isn’t addictive or dangerous. Since it looks like a pill, they think, somebody must’ve produced it and regulated it. That’s not the case. Molly is as unregulated as other illegal drugs, and there’s no way for kids who buy it or receive it to tell whether they’ve received a bad batch or whether their bodies simply won’t tolerate it. To this point, streetdrugs.org clarifies that MDMA of today is often much purer and more potent than that of a decade ago. According to a report by the Orlando Sentinel, a New Hampshire college student overdosed on it and died recently, and several other deaths have been attributed to the chemical.
This drug is popular because of the strong rush of happy, positive feelings it evokes. MDMA is taken orally, usually in tablet or capsule form, although it is sometimes sold as powder. Its primary mechanism is to dump a huge amount of the neurochemical serotonin into the brain all at once. Serotonin is a naturally occurring part of normal brain chemistry, but when released in a great flood, the user experiences a kind of intense euphoria.
As streetdrugs.org states, “MDMA is marketed as a feel good drug. Devotees say it produces profoundly positive feelings, empathy for others, elimination of anxiety, and extreme relaxation — hence the nickname ‘hug drug,’ or ‘love drug.’ MDMA is also said to suppress the need to eat, drink or sleep, enabling club scene users to endure all-night and sometimes two, or three-day parties.”
MDMA tablets are often “stamped” with icons or logos intended to appeal to a young audience. Its effects last approximately four to six hours. As with most illegal narcotics it’s tough for users to identify exactly what they’re taking. In an informational brochure produced by the (Now shuttered) National Drug Intelligence Center, pills represented as MDMA contained everything from heroine to methamphetamine to sugar, cough medicine, PCP, codeine, DMX, caffeine and many other substances. In short, there’s just no way to tell.
Unfortunately, that bit of trivia seems to have little purchase among a growing number of American young people. They blithely flout the fact that MDMA causes an increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature — all potentially fatal. It also causes jaw and teeth clenching/muscle tension, hypertension, dehydration, chills and/or sweating, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, dizziness, confusion, insomnia and paranoia.
Large doses are known to cause muscle breakdown, hyperthermia, kidney failure and cardiovascular system failure. Since one can’t tell exactly what the dose is that they’re taking, there’s no way to tell whether they’re taking a large or small amount.
Long term use of MDMA is associated with depression, sleep disorders, paranoia, drug craving, persistent elevation of anxiety, liver damage, brain damage, paralysis and possible others pending research. Some research even demonstrates that habitual use of MDMA has caused persistent, irreversible depression.
While it’s understandable that many young people want to party, to dance, to have intense sensory experiences, there are better ways. Moreover, there are many other safer ways. Let’s hope this trend reverses itself soon. Spread the word. Read this to a youngster.