By McKenzie Doll – WUFT contributor
A new drug craze is sweeping the nation, and it’s targeted to high school and college students.
Molly, a form of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is a cheap and accessible drug for concertgoers – costing $10 to $15 for a single pill.
Pop culture and the music industry helped start the craze, resulting in a dramatic increase of hospitalizations and arrests, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network.
Molly is the powder or crystal form of MDMA, a chemical drug most commonly known for its use in Ecstasy, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is a synthetic, mind-altering drug that acts as a stimulant and a hallucinogenic.
Highs usually cause users of the drug to move and talk more freely. It also triggers increased feelings of intimacy with others and elation and decreased feelings of anxiety, all with a slight boost in energy, according to the DEA.
What users might not take into account are the long-term health effects of the drug.
Dr. Eric Jennings, an internal medicine resident at UF&Shands, said users might feel confusion, depression and severe anxiety after taking Molly, both in the short-term and the long-term.
“Like any other stimulant, it will increase your heart rate and blood pressure,” Jennings said. “Physical effects of molly include tremors, teeth clenching, muscle cramps, nausea, faintness, chills, sweating and blurred vision.”
“Molly releases a surge of serotonin, depleting your brain of the natural balance of the chemical,” he said. “After coming down from the high, users may experience depression, insomnia and anxiety that can last for days and possibly weeks,”
Jennings said molly may lead to death due to an increased risk of seizures, strokes and even organ failure.
Kate Snyder, a sophomore at the University of Florida, said, “You can’t go to a music festival these days without being asked if you’ve seen Molly or are interested in rolling.”
Snyder, 19, said she would never try Molly because she thinks the point of being at a concert is to get a high from the music, not from the drugs.
The Drug Abuse Network found that from 2004 to 2009 there was a 123 percent increase in the number of emergency room visits involving MDMA taken alone or in combination with pharmaceuticals, alcohol or both.
University of Florida Police Department spokesman Maj. Brad Barber said the dangers of the drug come from not knowing what’s in it. There have been reports that molly has been laced with caffeine, baking soda, plant fertilizer and other toxic substances, he said.
“With the growing number of music festivals every year, young adults need to take in to consideration their health and future before they ‘find Molly,’” Barber said.