“Molly” Is Called A Marketing Tool For A Variety of Dangerous Drugs


A spate of overdose deaths at dance-music parties has raised alarm about “Molly,” an ostensibly pure form of the popular club drug ecstasy. Drug-enforcement officials tell the Wall Street Journal that the moniker has become meaningless, as dealers increasingly sell a variety of potentially more dangerous drugs under its guise. Among the most common Molly additives are bath salts, a family of mostly banned drugs known as synthetic cathinones, including methylone and mephedrone. Unlike MDMA, which typically generates feelings of empathy, bath salts “are potent stimulants and tend to induce paranoia and hallucinations,” said Jeff Lapoint, a physician at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego who studies emerging drugs. “It’s like the worst combination: While they’re agitated, now they’re seeing things, too.”

The term Molly emerged in the early 2000s as an effort by drug dealers to rebrand ecstasy, which had become less pure as demand increased, said Julie Holland, editor of “Ecstasy: The Complete Guide.” Molly was billed as clean MDMA and sold in white-powder form. Eventually, dealers began adulterating it and selling it to unsuspecting customers who think they are buying pure ecstasy. “Molly is just a marketing tool,” said Rusty Payne of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “It could be a whole variety of things.” Four overdose deaths in recent weeks at a dance festival in New York and nightclubs in Boston and Washington, D.C., have been blamed on Molly, prompting several Northeast venues to cancel concerts. On Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on law-enforcement agencies to bring “a new focus onto Molly labs.”

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