Fliers featuring a pretty, wide-eyed blonde litter music festivals and concerts. She has duct tape across her mouth, and the headline reads, “Have You Seen Molly?” But these aren’t about a missing person—they are advertisements of the club drug Molly (MDMA, also known as Ecstasy).
The image began as a teaser for a 2012 music video by French DJ Cedric Gervais, and Gervais’ graphic has turned into a full-fledged meme (a pop-culture reference shared widely from person to person), available on T-shirts, bumper stickers, and lots of places online.
But this advertising is just another way to get you to buy and try. And, with all the hype, it’s tempting to believe that Molly is just a good-time—no-harm-done—drug. It’s even got the reputation as the “pure” form of MDMA. Somehow, by being pure it seems safer than other forms of the drug. Even the name “Molly” sounds like a doll or the girl next door.
But it’s just hype. Drug dealers are salesmen, and it’s all branding.
Pure or Not Pure: MDMA Isn’t Safe
While on MDMA, you can feel anxious and agitated, have chills, or feel faint or dizzy. The side effects also don’t stop once the drug has left your system. Like a tank of nitrous-oxide in a souped-up Grand Theft Auto car, MDMA gives your brain a quick, huge boost of the mood-enhancing chemical, serotonin. Days and weeks after you’ve taken the drug, your brain hasn’t quite refueled its supply of serotonin and you can experience confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug cravings, and anxiety.
MDMA is especially dangerous for people on certain types of prescription depression medicines including Prozac and drugs called MAO inhibitors.
And It May Not Even Be Molly
It turns out, most Molly is far from “pure” MDMA. Of 143 batches of Molly seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) between 2009 and 2013, only 13 percent actually contained ANY MDMA. It’s even worse in Florida. According to the Florida Poison Information Center, the odds of actually consuming MDMA when purchasing Molly are zero. (No, that’s not a typo—it’s actually zero!)
How do we know? Because none of the drugs packaged as Molly that were seized in west Florida in the past 6 months contained any MDMA at all.
So what are people tripping on when they take Molly? Bath salts! These are nasty chemicals—which you can learn more about here. Bath salts users have needed help for heart problems, paranoia, hallucinations, and panic attacks, and bath salts have been linked to numerous deaths as well as serious emergencies involving dehydration, breakdown of muscle tissue attached to bones, and kidney failure.
The Smart Move
When you buy drugs like Molly or MDMA, there is no way to know what you're actually getting. And while it may feel like everyone around you is tripping on it, very few people actually make that choice. Less than 2 percent of 8th graders, less than 4 percent of 10th graders, and less than 6 percent of 12th graders have ever tried Molly.
Bottom Line: You don’t need to take drugs to take it all in. It’s a risky move to try Molly, and if the music isn’t enough…maybe you’re at the wrong concert.