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Friday, January 30, 2015

Party Drug Molly Just a Dangerous Concoction

Have you heard about Molly? No, not actress Molly Ringwald or folk hero of the American Revolution Molly Pitcher -- just plain old Molly.

Molly is the new street name of a new, popular drug and the next "mixture" of the substance formerly known as Ecstasy. It is rumored to be "pure" MDMA, the active ingredient in Ecstasy. MDMA was  originally formulated to treat depression. In 1985, the Drug Enforcement Administration labeled MDMA a Schedule I substance, or a drug with high abuse potential and no recognized medicinal use.

In truth ...

Molly has become a toxic mixture of lab-created chemicals and a very dangerous synthetic drug according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA found those ingesting Molly are actually taking dangerous synthetic drugs that have not been tested and are produced in widely varying strengths. The agency says only 13% of the Molly seized in New York state the last four years actually contained any MDMA, and even then it often was mixed with other drugs. Those may include ephedrine (a stimulant), dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant), ketamine, caffeine, cocaine, methamphetamine, or even, most recently, synthetic cathinones (the psychoactive ingredients in “bath salts”). The drugs frequently found in Molly are Methylone, MDPV, 4-MEC, 4-MMC, Pentedrone and MePP.

(Drew Griffin, Nelli Black, Patricia DiCarlo. "9 things everyone should know
about the drug Molly."  November 23, 2013)

These days, almost all the chemicals in Molly and other synthetic drugs come from laboratories in China (some in Canada). Chinese chemists sell the drugs online, and middlemen in the United States and around the world cut it with other substances.

It's difficult for law enforcement to keep track of all the chemicals. The DEA says it's seen about 200 individual chemical compounds since 2009 and 80 new compounds since 2012. As soon as a compound is discovered and banned, another one is created to take its place.

The demand for such drugs is huge. The fastest-emerging drug problem in the United States is the synthetic drug market, which now includes Molly. The chemicals in Molly have been found in nearly every state in the U.S.

It's a multibillion-dollar business. In two days, the DEA seized $95 million off drug traffickers during a crackdown. It is a also a growing problem in Australia, New Zealand and Europe as well.

Why the great popularity over Molly?

Molly is a "party drug" taken by many recreational users. Young first-time drug abusers between the ages of 12 and 17, as well as traditional rave, electronic dance music fans buy the drug and think they're getting MDMA. MDMA was initially popular among White adolescents and young adults in the nightclub scene, but the drug now affects a broader range of users and ethnicities. Even hit songs and populars artists, including Kanye West, Madonna, and Miley Cyrus, have referenced the drug.

MDMA's effects last approximately 3 to 6 hours, although it is not uncommon for users to take a second dose of the drug as the effects of the first dose begin to fade. It is commonly taken in combination with other drugs, which can be a very dangerous cocktail. For example, some urban gay and bisexual men report using MDMA as part of a multiple-drug experience that includes cocaine, GHB, methamphetamine, ketamine, and the erectile-dysfunction drug sildenafil (Viagra).

("DrugFacts: MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly)." National Institute
on Drug Abuse. September 20, 2014)

MDMA acts by increasing the activity of three neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The chemicals in the drug are central nervous system stimulants that cause euphoric highs as these neurotransmitters are released.

Yet, they can also cause a rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, blood vessel constriction and sweating, and can prevent the body from regulating temperature. On rare but unpredictable occasions, this can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), which can result in liver, kidney, or cardiovascular system failure. Some of the chemicals have been reported to cause intense, prolonged panic attacks, psychosis and seizures.

Some studies show characteristic feelings of emotional closeness and empathy are produced by the drug. The closeness-promoting effects of MDMA and its use in sexually charged contexts (and especially in combination with sildenafil) may encourage unsafe sex, which is a risk factor for contracting or spreading HIV and hepatitis.

After they wear off, the chemicals in Molly can cause devastating depression. Several of these compounds have caused deaths. A study in animals showed that exposure to high doses of MDMA for 4 days produced brain damage that could still be seen 6 to 7 years later.

To make the danger of taking Molly doubly dangerous, dosing for these sorts of drugs are in the micrograms, which makes the room for error tremendous. No one knows exactly what chemicals are contained in Molly or in what strength the substances may be. Overdoses result.

"You're playing Russian roulette if you take these compounds because we're seeing significant batch-to-batch variances," says Al Santos, associate deputy administrator for the DEA. "Our kids are being used as guinea pigs by drug traffickers," warns Santos.

Molly is accessible in many forms. Doses of Molly are available as a capsule or as a powder. The DEA has also seen Molly applied to blotting paper, like LSD, and in injectable form.

The number of visits to U.S. emergency rooms involving MDMA has jumped 123 percent since 2004, according to data compiled by the Drug Abuse Warning Network. In 2011, the most recent year on record, there were 22,498 such visits.

Rusty Payne, a spokesman with the Drug Enforcement Administration, claims in some states, there
has been a 100-fold increase - the combined number of arrests, seizures, emergency room mentions and overdoses - between 2009 and 2012, according to DEA figures.

("Drug 'Molly' is taking a party toll in the United States." Fox News.

Molly? It appears as if this partying, social lubricant is an alternative to beer, wine, and liquor in the young social scene. Controlling by illegal drug rings, the manufacture and distribution of Molly spells trouble for all who partake. Taking substances that could contain mixtures of many dangerous chemicals is just plain risky. The situations in which the substance may induce people to engage are just as chancy. Predators use such drugs as easily attainable criminal tools to help them commit violent crimes.

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