WASHINGTON, September 5, 3013 — The deaths of two young college students at an electronic music festival on New York’s Randall Island last weekend underscores the danger of the use of an old street drug with a new name: “Molly.” The innocuous sounding name disguises the drug’s deadly potential.
The term ‘Molly’ is a marketing approach to reinvigorate the popularity of MDMA, AKA ecstasy or “E,” to a new generation of youngsters who have no recollection of its popularity during the days of “rave” that began some 25 years ago.
There is nothing new about ecstasy in the world of drug use. This drug has been available for over 30 years in varying forms. For a drug known for creating the feelings and aura of love (hence the moniker ‘love drug’), it can turn to hate in a flash particularly when experienced with bass driven hypnotic style music adding to the high.
The danger of use and abuse comes in two forms. One is dehydration. One sweats profusely when they experience the sensation of what is known as ‘rolling’ to the point where cerebral spinal fluid becomes depleted, potentially resulting in coma and death.
Remarkably, in a recent article of this recent deadly event, Ted Hesson of ABC News erroneously and mistakenly wrote that Molly is relatively safe.
With the deaths of two young men at an all-night dance event in Alexandria Palace in London, England, and the hospitalization of 20 more, “safe” is not the first word that comes to mind when discussing MDMA. Hesson and ABC should know there is no such thing as a “safe” street drug. Not even “relatively.”
The massive perspiration brought on by dance and partying leads to dehydration. This can lead to immediate, serious or deadly health issues. Normally bottled water is sold at events where MDMA use is anticipated but at such high prices, five to ten dollars a bottle, many party goers cannot afford to purchase enough water to stave off dehydration.
Adding to the danger, a partygoer is often not allowed to bring his or her own beverages. When MDMA is mixed with alcohol, which it commonly is, the resulting degree of dehydration can shut down liver and kidney function.
A second unsafe aspect of MDMA is what the pill is adulterated or ‘cut’ with. Substances added in the pill manufacturing process to keep costs down can be cocaine, methamphetamine, and a host of other street drugs leaving the exact contents unknown.
MDMA affects the brain by the release of at least three neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in large amounts causing users to experience long lasting confusion, depression and impairment of memory and attention. Testing on animals reveals MDMA to cause significant adverse effects on memory and learning and humans ingest MDMA in their formative years when both functions are most called upon for the process of learning and storing information.
Taking MDMA alone may be considered relatively safe by some who believe it, but MDMA is normally adulterated and mixed with alcohol rendering MDMA unstable.
Compounding the problem of the unknowns of MDMA use, the government does not research the drug because MDMA has no current accepted medical use. Yet the government suggests MDMA as having a high potential for abuse. However, there is at least one privately financed study that suggests MDMA may have clinical use.
This so-called “hug drug” is being tested on those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) primarily with military veterans, police officers and firefighters and to date, reveals those who ingest clinically controlled doses of MDMA can work their way through PTSD in a research and treatment setting.
There are no studies with MDMA for psychopathic or sociopathic disorders yet there is talk that MDMA may benefit those with these disorders by bringing to light the very emotions and feelings the disordered lack: empathy and shared emotions such as love, compassion and human bonding.
Declaring MDMA as safe when taken alone when it rarely is can be compared to declaring a car is safe until it is started and mixed in traffic.
Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and psychotherapist.
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