Club drug gains popularity among students

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Getting ready to attend a rave, a senior who wishes to remain anonymous splits open a clear capsule. Pushing the powder into a straight line, he gets ready to snort Molly.

“[Molly] is a rave drug,” the senior said. “Your whole body tingles, especially your elbows and knees. You’re really happy and everything around you is beautiful.”

This student is part of over 10 percent of 450 students surveyed who said they have taken Molly at least once. Molly is the purest form of Ecstasy and can be taken orally or snorted and is typically found in powder form. The club drug has become increasingly popular due to a surge in the amount of parties known as raves.

A junior who wishes to remain anonymous said most of the students who are using Molly do so to cope with everyday stress.

“There’s not a lot of things to get your mind off of life,” the junior said. “We turn to Molly to relax. Some people even do it in the school bathrooms.”

The main ingredient in Ecstasy and Molly, MDMA, was originally a tool psychotherapists used in the 1970s through the 1980s to treat psychologically disturbed patients.  In 2010, the Journal of Psychopharmacology published a study that claimed post-traumatic stress disorder patients could be successfully cured through the use of MDMA. However, possession of Molly is a class one felony, making it as illegal as meth or cocaine.

Shawnee Police Department Special Investigation Unit Detective Mike Swaggert does not believe there are any medically-beneficial aspects of the drug.

“The average person might not die the first time they use it, but that’s not to say it’s not going to hurt them,” Swaggert said. “The drug affects the three neurotransmitters in your brain: serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Those are there to make you feel happy and good about yourself. Molly releases more of those … but when excessive amounts are released, it can cause you to become aggressive, depressed or even suicidal. When you mess with the chemicals in your brain, it’s dangerous.”

The senior believes the misuse of Molly has given the health benefits of the drug a bad reputation.

“It makes you a lot more social and energetic, but people use it to get high instead of for its medical purposes, so it’s all just synthetic [stuff] now,” the senior said.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, one of the dangers associated with Molly is that users may not be able to ensure that they are taking a pure form of MDMA.

Since the drug is man-made, it can be cross-contaminated with other various methamphetamines, such as meth, PCP and cocaine. It is sometimes cut with filler powders such as baking soda or flour so that manufacturers can keep more of the original drug.

The senior agrees that being exposed to tainted Molly is one of the drug’s major dangers.

“[Capsules] are what a lot of people are getting, and they think it’s cool because it gets them really high, but half the time it’s flour and cocaine,” the senior said. “You could be ingesting anthrax. You really just don’t know.”

After two deaths and four overdoses on the drug at a New York music festival in September, the media has scrutinized the drug’s negative side effects.

The anonymous junior said that one of the negative effects she’s experienced is destruction to her health.

“After [taking it] you don’t feel well. You’re really tired and it almost feels like a head cold,” the junior said. “And I feel like it increases your anxiety. Since I’ve started [using Molly], I have really bad anxiety.”

She also said it is a very addictive drug.

“Even when I’m just bored, I want a Molly,” the junior said. “I crave it at random times during the day and get anxiety very easily.”

Swaggert said that it is addictive because, when snorted, it has direct access to the brain.

“It can be extremely addictive in a short time because it attacks the brain,” Swaggert said. “The reason that it’s such a dangerous drug is because there’s so much about it that’s still unknown. A lot of short term users will have neurological damage.”

The senior said anyone who wants to try the drug is better off avoiding it.

“It’s a drug, so it’s better safe than sorry [to just not use it],” the senior said. “But, if you’re going to do it, be smart about it. Be sure you’re with someone you trust and know. Know what it’s supposed to taste like and feel like. And if it feels like you’re on cocaine, then you’re probably on cocaine.”

Swaggert believes the drug is too dangerous to ever try.

“People have overdosed on the drug,” Swaggert said. “Taking [Molly] is like taking a drill and drilling a hole into your brain. Molly is dangerous enough that no labs are doing tests on humans.”

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