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The Pure Truth About Molly: It Can Be Fatal

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molly-drug-abuse-helpGlamorized by the likes of Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West and more, the drug known as Molly (a.k.a MDMA or ecstasy) has become increasingly popular in recent years. But in the wake of its popularity, it’s leaving a trail of bodies. One of those bodies was Shelley Goldsmith, a college student from Virginia who collapsed after using the drug in 2013, and later died at a hospital. She was 19.

History of Molly

MDMA was originally a therapeutic drug used for psychotherapy. During the 1970s, therapists used it to help inhibit fear in their patients and expand communication during sessions. Despite its therapeutic properties however, by the 1980s the drug became popular outside medical circles and was soon being used recreationally. By 1985, the Drug Enforcement Agency took notice and banned the drug, classifying it as an illegal Schedule I substance, citing high potential for abuse.

The dangers of Molly

Molly, like marijuana, is often touted as being a more natural experience, and thus has gained a reputation as a “safe” drug. But it’s simply not the case. For addicts, there is no such thing as a safe drug, and in the case of Molly, the dangers extend far beyond dependence and addiction.

The NYU Langone Online Journal of Medicine explains that MDMA works by releasing serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, chemicals that are critical for regulating a variety of body systems, including mood, body temperature, sleep and more. This flood of chemicals results in heightened mental stimulation, sensory perception, euphoria and empathy, as well as increased stamina. Because of the nature of the high, Molly is popular at concerts and nightclubs, where users report being able to dance for many hours on end.

But within the high lies the danger. One of the leading causes of ecstasy-related deaths is serotonin syndrome, wherein too much serotonin accumulates in the body, causing muscle rigidity, fever and seizures, all of which can lead to death. Molly causes chemical reactions that interfere with the body’s ability to regulate body temperature, making hyperthermia another common cause of MDMA-related deaths. Unlike other drugs, however, hyperthermic deaths from Molly are not necessarily dose dependent. The NYU Langone Online Journal of Medicine explains that is more likely the circumstances under which the drug is taken – like an outdoor dance music festival in late summer, for example – that lead to hyperthermia.

What’s so pure about Molly, anyway?

Many users are under the impression that Molly is a pure form of MDMA, and thus falsely believe that they are less likely to encounter the known dangers of the drug. But again, it’s simply not the case. As an unregulated substance, it’s virtually impossible for users to know exactly what they’re buying when they choose to do Molly. In fact, according to a study called the Ecstasy Data Project, nearly 20% of pills sold as ecstasy in 2015 contained no MDMA at all. In 2013, the figure was closer to 40%.

What’s more, even when the drug is purely MDMA, users are by no means safe. The dangers – hyperthermia, serotonin syndrome, in addition to others including hyponatremia (too little sodium in the blood, often as a result of overhydration), irregular heartbeat, convulsions, multi-organ failure and more – are all potential side effects of so-called “pure” MDMA. Shelley Goldsmith, the 19-year-old college student from Virginia, took pure MDMA the night she died.

Is Molly addictive?

Research on whether or not MDMA is physically addictive has been inconclusive so far, but data does show that the same neurotransmitter systems targeted by other addictive drugs are the same targeted by MDMA – meaning in some people, it could very well lead to dependence.

Addictive or not, the side effects and health hazards of Molly are an extreme risk to take for the sake of a high. But even knowing these dangers, dependent users may not be able to control the urge to take the drug. If you’re dealing with the struggles of addiction to ecstasy or other substance, or want to get help for a loved one who is, The Watershed is here for you 24/7. Give us a call today: 1-800-861-1768.

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