Newsweek reports on a “dangerous and sometimes deadly” trend: drug dealers are selling bath salts and other synthetic drugs to ravers who believe they are buying the methamphetamine known as molly, Ecstasy or MDMA. The Drug Enforcement Administration says that of 143 seized substances believed to be molly and analyzed between 2009 and 2013, only 13 percent actually contained some MDMA. Bath salts frequently are sold as molly, experts say. “You truly are playing Russian roulette,” said a DEA spokeswoman.
The problem goes beyond deception; the chemical makeup of MDMA and of some other drugs is often similar, but alternatives synthetics can be much more powerful, so taking an MDMA-size dose of an alternative can be life-threatening. In large doses, synthetics can cause paranoia, increased heart rate and even death, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In one recent example, a dozen young people affiliated with Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., were treated for overdose symptoms after ingesting an unknown drug they thought was molly.