Joseph Palamar does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Molly is one of the most popular party drugs in the US. But what a lot of people may not know is that molly is actually a form of ecstasy MDMAand this misunderstanding can put young people at risk. Every year national surveys query teens and adults about ecstasy use.
The data suggest its use has generally declined over the last decade.
However, there is a disconnect between these studies and popular culture. Molly has been glamorized in popular culture for at least three years, and bystudies throughout various US cities began detecting increased rates of molly use.
Yet, national surveys have not included molly in the definition of ecstasy. Inthe Monitoring the Future survey on teen drug use was the first national study to test molly in their definition of ecstasy in a subset of the sample.
Their annual report was published on Tuesday. Interestingly, ecstasy use without molly included in the definition ificantly decreased this year.
The lead investigator on the study confirmed to me that in the subset of the sample where molly was included in the definition, rates of use were actually slightly though not necessarily ificantly higher. This suggests that some teens may not be aware that the Molly they take is actually ecstasy until it is pointed out them.
This is echoed in my experiences as a drug researcher and assistant professor of population health. For example, my colleague and I recently coauthored a paper about ecstasy use among US teens and we were surprised that editors and peer-reviewers of various drug journals had never heard of Molly. In the UK, for instance, it is sometimes called mandy.
How do people use mdma?
Molly can be purchased in capsule form or in a baggie, and it can be swallowed or snorted. The name change coincided with a boom in popularity in electronic dance music EDM. The new name appears to have attracted a new cohort of youngsters to ecstasy possibly as a marketing tactic. When I was deeply immersed in the underground NYC club scene many years ago, ecstasy came mostly in pill form.
These were more expensive and people often claimed that they produced the most natural highs. In the late s and early s when ecstasy use was much more prevalentthere were far fewer hospitalizations resulting from use. Molly is in fact now a very different form of ecstasy.
Dealers at all levels can adulterate the drug because it is in powder form, similar to cocaine. Pills carry risks, but are generally only adulterated by the manufacturer.
Molly on the other hand can be tampered with at every step between manufacturer and user. All sorts of adulterants wind up in molly, but some — potentially deadly drugs — such as PMAmethyloneand NBOMehave been popping up more and more and leading to deaths. Understanding this may make a difference to anyone tempted to try this drug.
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