“Molly,” the powder or crystal form of MDMA, the chemical used in Ecstasy, has been a popular drug at music festivals this year, CNNreports.
Molly, short for molecule, is considered to be pure MDMA, unlike Ecstasy, which generally is laced with other ingredients, such as caffeine or methamphetamine. According to Pax Prentiss, co-founder and CEO of Passages rehabilitation centers in Southern California, molly users tend to be ages 16 to 24.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers MDMA to be a Schedule I controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse, and no accepted use in medical treatment. The DEA notes that MDMA can cause confusion, anxiety, depression, paranoia, sleep problems, and drug craving. The drug also can cause muscle tension, tremors, involuntary teeth clenching, muscle cramps, nausea, faintness, chills, sweating, and blurred vision. “High doses of MDMA can interfere with the ability to regulate body temperature, resulting in a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), leading to liver, kidney and cardiovascular failure. Severe dehydration can result from the combination of the drug’s effects and the crowded and hot conditions in which the drug is often taken,” the DEA reports.
While fewer than 4 percent of emergency room visits in 2009 were due to MDMA use, the national Drug Abuse Warning 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.