A newly fashionable drug is setting off alarm bells in the minds of both health officials and parents.
The drug known as “Molly” has a rather innocent-sounding name. It is a type of MDMA (commonly called Ecstasy) that has been implicated in several hospitalizations and deaths.
Needless to say, this drug is not only dangerous, but it may lead to the need for addiction treatment for those who use it.
Molly is a synthetic drug that’s been around since the 1970s. People who take the drug report that it makes them feel joyful, open and upbeat. This is likely why it’s become popular at raves, concerts and festivals. People say Molly makes them feel as though they need to have physical contact with others. The drug can also cause users to experience mild hallucinations.
Molly’s effect on the brain
As a drug, Molly works as both a stimulant and a psychedelic. It boosts the levels of three brain chemicals linked to mood: dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Molly also releases oxytocin, a chemical that creates feelings of intimacy. Oxytocin is normally released into the body after sex or childbirth. This explains why users report the need to touch others while they’re under the drug’s influence.
Molly is a crystal or powder form of ecstasy, or MDMA. The club drug is typically manufactured by dealers using home kitchens or labs. The problem is that while dealers and users refer to it as pure MDMA, researchers say that any single hit might be mixed with other drugs, like meth or bath salts, or chemicals such as baking soda. Regardless of whether the drug is pure or mixed with other substances, it can have dangerous consequences that make addiction treatment necessary.
Consequences of taking Molly
Molly produces a range of side effects. Some side effects, like exhaustion and dehydration, are mild. Others, however, are far more serious. For example, the surge of serotonin it produces depletes the brain of this critical neurotransmitter. As a result, when the high wears off, users often experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression and sleep problems. These symptoms can last for days or weeks afterward.
Molly users are also at risk for medical emergencies. The drug can cause the body to severely overheat, resulting in potentially fatal damage to the brain. In addition, the synthetic drug can trigger a severe drop in blood sodium levels, which may lead to brain swelling and fatal seizures. Reports from emergency room officials reflect the drug’s growing popularity. ER visits related to Molly use skyrocketed 123% between 2004 and 2009, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network.
Health officials are still trying to pinpoint the exact role Molly played in recent deaths. The deaths could be tied to one of the drug’s inherent consequences, or they might be linked to a batch that was potentially mixed with another drug, like meth.
Furthermore, another side effect creates cause for concern. Because the club drug generates a strong desire to be physically close to others, it has the potential to lead to unsafe sex. Under its influence, a Molly user is more likely to engage in risky behaviors that lead to sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV, or sexual assault.
The problem of Molly and pop culture
Despite its dangers, Molly is glamorized in some arenas of pop culture. Singer Miley Cyrus included a reference to the party drug in her recent release “We Can’t Stop”. Another entertainer, Kanye West’s “Blood on the Leaves” refers to the “when you tried your first Molly”. Madonna has referred to the club drug during live shows as well. This kind of glorification may influence a teen or young adult’s decision to try it.
Molly and addiction
This form of Ecstasy is an addictive drug with the potential to create psychological dependence. One of the difficulties with pinpointing a Molly addiction is that it can be hard for a parent, educator, or law enforcement official to tell when someone is using the drug. There is no telltale odor, as with marijuana; nor does its use require special equipment, like needles.
Some signs you should be alert for include:
- New or worsening depression or anxiety
- Sweating or chills
- Jaw clenching or teeth grinding
- Sudden loss of appetite
- Sleep troubles
- Increase in sexual activity
- Blurred vision
If you suspect that your or a loved one has developed an addiction to Molly, reach out for help.
Molly addiction treatment
Detoxification (detox) is the first step toward recovery. If needed, a treatment center medical team will monitor you or your loved one to ensure the drug is safely eliminated from the body. Once detox is complete, the real work of treatment begins. Molly users will go through a range of therapies designed to help them stay drug free. Talk therapy is used to examine thinking patterns and behaviors that contribute to use. You or your loved one will also learn how to change your thinking and learn healthy ways to cope with the negative emotions that can lead to Molly abuse.
A teen user might take part in family counseling, which typically has two primary goals. The first is to identify and resolve conflicts that may have played a role in the teen’s drug use. A second goal is to teach family members how to work with the drug user to prevent relapse.
Aftercare is critical, especially for teen and young adult users who are often heavily influenced by the behavior of their peers. Speak with the treatment center about options that help you or your young person stay drug free after the initial rehab course is completed.
Molly is not a safe drug. If you or a loved one is abusing Molly, seek addiction treatment now. The next hit could be the one that generates devastating and lasting effects.