A thousand girls in the prime of youth parade around in tutus, sucking viciously on light-up pacifiers. The question on everyone’s mind is, “Where’s Molly?”
“Molly” is the street name for MDMA, the pure form of Ecstasy, a stimulant which releases serotonin throughout the brain, decreasing anxiety and inducing a sense of euphoria in the user. Four recent overdose deaths in the Northeast United States as well as the cancelation of the Electric Zoo festival in New York City have unleashed a media firestorm against the drug. Some critics go as far to launch vicious attacks against the electronic dance music (EDM) itself, echoing the rallying against rock music that took place several generations earlier.
Despite all the hype, finger-wagging and fear mongering will do nothing to stop the fatalities allegedly attributed to Molly. Young people will continue to use the drug, just as they continue to have sex after tolerating abstinence education and continued to undergo abortions when the practice was illegal in the U.S. Instead of taking polar stances against the drug, users and the government must combine forces to combat the distribution of such drugs.
The first step is allocating funds to research the effects of MDMA on the human body and mind. Scientists still do not know exactly how MDMA creates its desired effects in the user, and even less is known about the long-term effects of the drug. According to one study, the difference in cognitive function between MDMA users and non-users was minimal. In addition, MDMA rarely leads to death or hospitalization when taken at a recreational dose. This is not to say that MDMA is as safe as an evening spent at home watching Spongebob, but it suggests that the drug may not be the killer the media describes portrays it.
If we truly wish to decrease the number of hospitalizations due to MDMA abuse, we must recognize that much of the powder and small tablets sold as “Molly” are actually cut with other drugs such as cocaine, crack and even meth. A combination of these drugs is fatal. Though one can only go by anecdotal evidence, it appears there is a bunk batch of “Molly” circulating throughout the Northeast. Instead of warning users to abstain entirely, event organizers must distribute affordable testing kits. The Bunk Police is an organization that works to distribute MDMA and LSD testing kits and educate users on proper testing techniques. These kits cost as little as $20, a small price to pay for personal responsibility. The existence of such an organization suggests that the electronic music culture is not a one-dimensional dumping ground for hedonistic and careless activity. Rather, it is a movement that cares about its adherents and their safety.
Given that the college demographic consumes the drug MDMA at much higher rates than the general population, the risk for ingesting a dirty drug is much greater. So, the next time you or someone you know asks the question, “Where’s Molly?,” be aware that anyone who claims to have “found her” may not have your best interests in mind.