Everyone loves Molly. Or do they?

Stickers recently spotted in Uptown strongly hint at Molly's local presence. (Photo: Jesse J. Smith)

Stickers recently spotted in Uptown strongly hint at Molly’s local presence. (Photo: Jesse J. Smith)

Molly is so sweet. Wholesome. Clean. Untainted. She’s the girl next door whose very name implies purity and parental approval. Some say Molly even has a good influence on those who have post-traumatic stress disorder. Everyone loves Molly.

Others know a darker side of Molly. They say Molly just messes with your head, fries your brain, flat-lines your personality. Others say Molly can cause anxiety, paranoia, depression, fatigue, exhaustion and worse. They say she can cause dangerous dehydration, fevers and even suicidal ideation. They ask if Molly is so good for you, why are people acquainted with her checking into rehabs and brain injury centers with diagnoses of acquired brain injury?


“Molly,” a.k.a., MDMA, was known back in the ’90s as Ecstasy, or X for short. Whether in pill or powder form, it was a drug with the characteristics of both hallucinogens and amphetamines; it was a common feature at the hours-long dance parties they used to call “raves.” According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, MDMA “produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and empathy toward others, and distortions in sensory and time perception.” NIDA also says the difference between MDMA and Ecstasy is that Ecstasy was cut with the artificial opiate fentanyl, causing a “speedball”-like effect.

The era of the rave has pretty much passed into cultural history at this point, but MDMA is very much a thing of today. Twenty bucks is the general price for one dose of the bitter-tasting substance most typically found in capsule or powdered form.

“I spent the night with Molly” and other cheeky references plaster bathroom walls in graffiti and posters. (The drug’s nickname is derived from the term “molecular MDMA.”) Madonna reportedly recently questioned her audience: “How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?” 2 Chainz calls Molly out in Nicki Minaj’s “Beez In the Trap.” Childish Gambino in his song “Unnecessary,” hollers out at her; Kanye West in “Mercy” and Danny Brown in “Die Like a Rockstar” both mention her by name.

According to NIDA, MDMA’s effects last approximately three to six hours, although it is not uncommon for users to take a second dose of the drug as the first begins to fade.

MDMA can induce euphoria, a sense of intimacy with others, diminished anxiety, and mild psychedelia. Many studies, particularly in the fields of psychology and cognitive therapy, have suggested MDMA has therapeutic benefits and facilitates therapy sessions in certain individuals, a practice for which it had been formally used in the past. Clinical trials are now testing the therapeutic potential of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety associated with terminal cancer and addiction.

It is commonly taken in combination with other drugs. Some report using MDMA as part of a multiple-drug experience that includes cocaine, GHB, methamphetamine, ketamine, and the erectile-dysfunction drug sildenafil (Viagra). The combination has been said to be deadly.

Dead at 20

Eileen Kennedy of Saugerties just lost her 20 year-old nephew to MDMA in July. “Brian” (whose name has been changed to protect his identity) was a university student, playing three or four different sports, good grades and a wide open future in front of him when he went out one night with a few friends to a dance club and popped a few Mollies.

Kennedy described Brian and his friends as “regular, everyday kids”, insisting that regular drug use was not their norm. The coroner determined the MDMA was cut with something. “They are thinking it was some kind of rat poison,” explained Kennedy.

Kennedy said Brian’s friends said they were dancing at the rave on the drug but Brian “got wild” and started drinking large amounts of water — a typical scenario for someone on MDMA since it creates dehydration. Friends reported that Brian started swinging his arms violently until the rave’s bouncers tossed him out. Brian went missing for five hours. “We are not sure how we got to the ambulance,” said a bereft Kennedy. “He was missing a shoe, and was dirty.” Kennedy was especially struck by the fact that her nephew was hospitalized under the name “Jon Doe” until one of his friends got involved.

Brian was admitted with a temperature of 107, requiring a respirator.  Ultimately his breathing stopped. “Blood clots made his heart stop, possibly from rat poison and his blood pressure dropped,” explained Kennedy. “This kid is 6’2”. He is a baseball and football player.” Kennedy recalled the Staten Island funeral director said he buried 15 kids under the age of 30 from Mollies since January.

“His life was wasted,” said Kennedy. “He was going somewhere. His life was wasted on one night. I know he was planning to just have a good time. That was it. There’s no need to die over it. Going out for a couple hours and people come home.”

‘In love with everything’

Parents are infuriated with the ex-Disney celebrity phenom Miley Cyrus for asking the legions of tween listeners if they were “dancing with Molly.”

But “Cheryl” (name changed upon request) of Lake Katrine was not too inhibited to admit she does the occasional Mollie and summed it up like this, using words reminiscent of the 1960s LSD craze: “It feels like you’re in love with everything. You have a smile on your face you can’t stop. All your senses are very heightened. Everything you touch feels so soft and inviting. Anything that touches you feels luxurious and orgasmic. It’s like you are in a haze of happiness. … Everything just felt so good and new.”

There are 5 comments

  1. StarkRG

    All the negatives expressed in this article are that it is dangerous when overused or cut with dangerous substances. In other words the drug is perfectly safe when pure and used properly. The same could be said about alcohol: if you put rat poison in alcohol it’ll kill you pretty quick, if you drink too much alcohol it’ll kill you too. In fact, the same could be said about water: if you put rat poison in water, etc.

    MDMA works by releasing a huge portion of your stored serotonin, so repeat uses don’t have the same effect and it takes several days for your brain to produce more which is why there’s a period of depression afterwards. Proper use would be using it once, at most twice in one night (knowing that the second dose won’t do a whole lot), then lay off it for three or four days.

    As far as I can see the only arguments provided in this article point to providing better drug education (so people know the proper dosage, effects, etc.) and legalizing it so it can be better regulated (thus be assured there are no poisonous additives).

    If you’re really wanting to convince people that MDMA is bad provide some evidence that, in it’s pure form, when used in moderation is still detrimental.

    1. sakara

      ‘better drug education’ and ‘moderation’—yeah, the teens and college kids really sit down and read about the pros and cons of stuff that gets them high, especially when it comes to getting high to some banal dance music.

  2. Michael Collins

    Same thing happened when alcohol was illegal. People used radiators to distill alcohol and people got lead poisoning from it.

    While the purpose of distillation is to produce ethanol, it also produces methanol (poison). Those not sufficiently educated about the process didn’t know they had to filter off the methanol and ended up poisoning their customers–some slower and some faster.

    The solution to these problems was to create Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) whose purpose it is to license and monitor the production and distribution of alcohol.

    Legalizing alcohol not only made it’s production and consumption substantially safer, it also made it way easier to regulate.

    Liquor stores won’t sell to minors. They’ve got a revenue model that requires a valid liquor license. Selling to minors will get your liquor license yanked and put you out of business.

    1. sakara

      ‘liquor stores wont sell to minors’—-which is why the legal age friends, or family members, or some would-be boyfriend, wind up buying booze for minors.

      and, even in my local, small town, newspaper, every month some bar, club, restaurant, is caught selling beer or wine to a minor.

      any teen wanting to get drunk will find a way to, illegally, get drunk.

      same with illegal drugs; its a lost cause.

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