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Drugs & Health Blog

Molly—New Cases of Toxic Batch Raise Awareness

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
The NIDA Blog Team

Twelve students were hospitalized on February 22, 2015, after taking “Molly” (MDMA, also called “Ecstasy”) and drinking alcohol at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Two students became so ill, they were flown to nearby hospitals. Two others were taken by ambulance.

Molly is a manmade “party” drug that is sometimes taken by young adults at parties, concerts, and dance clubs. It can produce feelings of increased energy, emotional warmth, and empathy toward others. Users may also feel anxious or agitated, become sweaty, get chills, or feel faint or dizzy. They can also get dangerously dehydrated, and deaths have been reported. People that use Molly are often not aware of the health risks or take it because they feel pressured by their friends.

Serious consequences, including death, can also occur when Molly is “cut” or mixed with something else toxic—like the drug called bath salts. We don’t know yet if that happened at Wesleyan, but it has happened a lot in the last few years in other parts of the country.

The crime lab will continue to test this batch of Molly to determine what was is in it so they can better treat those that have gotten seriously ill. Police may also be able to find out more from the students they recently arrested in connection with this case. However, even if they are, in fact, the students that distributed the tainted Molly, they may not disclose the other non-MDMA components of the Molly—if they even know.

Don’t Fool Yourself—There’s No Such Thing as “Safe” Molly

It’s a myth that Molly is “safe” because it’s "pure" MDMA. Even Molly that is pure MDMA is dangerous and can cause death. Unless you are a chemist in lab, it is impossible to know what is in it, or if it is some other drug completely.  Powder sold as Molly can actually contain stimulants, cough medicine, ketamine, caffeine, cocaine, methamphetamine, or bath salts. It can contain whatever the person making the drug wants it to contain. Some Molly doesn’t contain any MDMA at all.

As consumers, we are used to things having safety standards. Food, cosmetics, medicines, household cleaners, over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and even cigarettes have labels that tell us what they contain and what the negative effects can be from taking them.

Illicit drugs like Molly have no safety labels. It seems obvious enough, but illicit drug makers and dealers don’t have to tell people anything. They are not in the business of keeping people safe. They are in the business of making money. And even if the people dealing the drugs are friends, they may lie (they do, after all spend their time doing illegal activity), or they may not even know what is in the drugs they are dealing.

We feel terrible for what the students and their families are going through. And we hope that the very hard lesson they are learning will convince others to skip the Molly experience.

So—does this story make you think any differently about Molly? Tell us what you think.   

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


Are there current stats on how many teens have used Molly?

Hi Lauren.  The 2014 Monitoring the Future study reports that 0.9% of 8th graders, 2.3% of 10th graders, and 3.6% off 12th graders have used Ecstasy in the past year.  

what why would people do that
Why is the mixture of molly and alcohol so dangerous?

Good question, Johnny. Mixing alcohol and any drug is dangerous.  Alcohol impairs brain function and motor skills. Combining alcohol with another depressant like Xanax or painkillers like Vicodin can slow your heartbeat and breathing and may lead to death. Mixing alcohol with stimulants like Adderall or club drugs like Ecstasy can cause heart problems, too, as well as strokes and convulsions.  Even mixing alcohol with over-the-counter cough and cold medicines can cause serious problems.  

People usually are aware that any street drug you buy is dangerous and can contain things you would never want to put in your body. But if people are usually wanting to take drugs, they are already making bad decisions; therefore they probably won't be thinking about the consequences of taking tainted drugs. Bad decisions is the main problem in this sitation because people there are people that don't even care what they take or how they get it, as long as they can get high.
I'm always a bit conflicted about this, because we outlaw these drugs it causes these underground businesses to rise up to try to sell their drugs to anyone willing to buy, including teens. These underground businesses will put in other ingridents that may be harmful in them in order to sell more product. I think if we didn't outlaw some of these drugs the government could regulate these drugs to make them a bit safer, at least when it comes to people dieing when it is mixed with other things. On the other hand, you don't prevent misuse when you legally sell a drug either, even if you tax it and correctly inform people about what it can due to your body. Knowing that the teen brain is weak it would be best to prevent sale of drugs to anyone under 21 years of age.
I think that anything associated with drugs is bad. Drugs are horrible and bad for your health!
I didn't even know that there was a drug called Molly that was this dangerous. Now if someone ever pressures me to use it, I know that I'm definitely going to say no.
I think that the students taking Molly or even students considering to take Molly should know of the consequences. This might never really happen, but one can try. I myself have never heard of Molly before, but seeing this article makes it clear it is a dangerous drug or mix of drugs. Extreme dehydration and any of the other symptoms do not seem worth it to take Molly.
It keeps you up all night its irritating trynq come down off it xanex didnt help