According to the 2015-16 CHKS results, 10% of 11th graders in the Tam High School District reported using Ecstasy, LSD or other psychedelics at least once in their lifetime (the question was not broken out for MDMA, Ecstasy, Molly and LSD). Cocaine lifetime use was 5% of 11th graders surveyed.
MDMA, ECSTASY and MOLLY.
MDMA is perceived as benign compared to other drugs such as cocaine or hallucinogens such as LSD. It is a synthetic drug, that alters mood and perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions). It is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth and distorted sensory and time perception.
MDMA was initially popular in the nightclub scene and at all-night dance parties (“raves”). Today, the drug affects a broader range of people who more commonly call the drug Ecstasy or Molly, a relative of Ecstasy. It still is considered a “party drug” and is popular at nightclubs, outdoor music festivals, concerts, large parties and interactive, high-energy environments. For an article in the student-run Redwood High School newspaper, the Bark, on the drugs used in the club scene, including Molly, go to http://redwoodbark.org/2014/04/peace-love-unity-and-raves/.
MDMA is usually taken as a capsule or tablet, though some swallow it in liquid form or snort the powder. Once consumed, it takes about 15 minutes to enter the bloodstream and the brain, producing almost instant feelings of euphoria and closeness, while diminishing a user’s anxieties. The effects can last anywhere from three to six hours. Many users take a second dose as the effects of the first dose begin to fade or they take more than one pill at a time to enhance their experience.
Effect on the Brain. MDMA increases the activity of three brain chemicals: Dopamine (which causes a surge in euphoria and increased energy/activity), Norepinephrine (which increases heart rate and blood pressure) and Serotonin (which affects mood, appetite, sleep and other functions.) It also triggers hormones that affect sexual arousal and trust. The release of large amounts of serotonin likely causes the emotional closeness, elevated mood, and empathy felt by users.
Other health effects. High doses of MDMA can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a spike in body temperature which can result in hyperthermia. That can occasionally result in liver, kidney or heart failure or even death. When taken in overcrowded, overheated environments such as a music venue, MDMA also can lead to severe dehydration which can lead to overheating, convulsing or seizing. Finally, because MDMA promotes trust and closeness, its use can encourage unsafe sexual behavior.
Molly. After Ecstasy earned a bad reputation in the 1990’s, the drug was rebranded and Molly, with its seemingly sweet and innocent name, appeared on the scene. Slang for “molecular”, Molly refers to the supposedly “pure” crystalline powder form of MDMA, usually sold in capsules for about $40 per 100-milligram pill. This is a marketing ploy.
Molly users often actually get other drugs such as synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”), cocaine, ketamine (found in horse tranquilizers), methamphetamine, heroin, PCP or over-the-counter cough medicine, caffeine and even rat poison. These substances can be instead of MDMA or in addition to MDMA. They can be extremely dangerous because the person does not know what they are taking. They are also harmful when combined with pure MDMA. And as with other drugs, combining Molly with alcohol, marijuana or other drugs is especially risky.
Taking Molly is like playing a game of Russian Roulette. The DEA says that only 13% of the Molly seized in New York state over the last four years actually contained any MDMA and even then it often was mixed with other drugs. Molly is often manufactured in countries such as China, where the ingredients can be mixed in unsanitary places like toilet bowls and bathtubs. No one knows the truth as to how each batch of Molly is prepared.
In a six year span, emergency room visits related to the use of Ecstasy, MDMA and Molly rose by 128% among those under the age of 21. Since 2013, there has been an extensive string of Molly deaths and overdoses throughout the country. Horror stories abound of young adults taking one dose and dying almost instantaneously from Molly.It is tragic that Molly is used amongst teens and young adults today who are simply looking for a “good” time. Molly is marketed to teens who are first-time drug users as well as rave and electronic dance music fans who may think they are getting MDMA. Molly is also popularized in rap lyrics and pop culture.
Signs of Use. Symptoms include hyperactivity, unusual confidence, jerky movements, inability to sleep, talkativeness, grinding or chattering teeth, very large pupils, sweating, thirst, lack of appetite, staring, “spittin” cotton (spit is like a cotton ball). The comedown can be depression, fear, listlessness, apathy, muscle aches, cramps and mood swings. Not everyone who uses this drug shows all of these symptoms.
Use of Lollipops, Pacifiers and Gum. As these drugs speed up activity in the central nervous system, the excess adrenaline causes users to grind their teeth and clench their jaw or their teeth to chatter. This is why users often suck on lollipops or pacifiers or chew a lot of gum when using Molly, Ecstasy or MDMA.