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Addiction Synthetic Drugs

Molly: A Dangerous, Synthetic Ride

Tablets sold as MDMA may contain other chemicals
Tablets sold as MDMA may contain other chemicals (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Molly is the slang term for the man-made drug MDMA (ecstasy). It’s a well-known synthetic, psychoactive drug often used at all-night parties or raves and sold as the “pure form of MDMA,” something medical professionals and the DEA are finding far from the truth. What is being sold is an unpredictable variation of MDMA with various synthetic drugs being used as filler. Molly provides a fast, relatively long acting (3-6 hours) high with the following effects:

 

  • Increased energy
  • Euphoria,
  • Emotional warmth and empathy to others
  • Distortions in sensory or time perception

 

The physical effects of Molly are similar to other stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines and include:

 

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • Clenching of jaw
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint
  • Chills and/or sweating

The recent surge of young adults overdosing on Molly overdoses is alarming. Medical professionals have noted shifts in their pathology findings in these patients, illustrating the fact that underground chemists are manipulating the molecular compounds of Molly in the same way they are manipulating other synthetic drugs like K2, Spice, and bath salts. According to Rudy Payne, DEA spokesman, “DEA seizures of pure MDMA or ecstasy have dropped indicating that dealers are creating the capsules from other drugs and marketing them as Molly.” This statistic makes a profound statement: “In 2008, the DEA seized 5,377 pounds of Ecstasy. Last year, the DEA seized 954 pounds.”

 

The drug dealers target teens and young adults, promoting a cheap, safe high. What they are selling is the antithesis of safe. Teens and young adults are essentially guinea pigs, experimenting with their brains and cognitive development in the name of fun. On the street, in social circles, and even in some pop songs, Molly is being falsely lauded as harmless.

 

  • Overdose symptoms include:
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Overheating
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shivering
  • Involuntary twitching

 

To put things into perspective, these four Molly related deaths occurred this summer:

 

  • Two college students died at the Electric Zoo festival in New York, prompting a shutdown.
  • A University of Virginia student died at a rave in Washington, D.C.
  • A 19-year-old died in a club in Boston, and 3 others overdosed.

 

There are long-term effects from using these drugs. It negatively affects one’s brain chemistry, and can damage the brain for several years following heavy use. Researchers have found that MDMA affect the neurons that use serotonin to communicate with other neurons. Seratonin controls our mood, sleep, sensitivity to pain, and aggression. Long-term use of MDMA also affects memory loss.  Molly isn’t something to play with. These long-term effects aren’t worth 6 hours of distorted reality.

 

Articles used as reference:

Drug ‘Molly’ is taking a party toll in the United States

NIDA for Teens

Overdoses Attributed to Club Drug “Molly” Increase

Partnership at Drugfree.org

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH)

 

Categories
Addiction Anxiety Depression Mental Health Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) PTSD Recovery Therapy Treatment

MDMA: Is This Psychotropic Drug Helpful, Harmful, or Both?

Image via Wikipedia

Last time I wrote about ecstasy, it was about the rise in ER visits and the inherent dangers of using a drug that inevitably depletes one’s levels of serotonin and has the potentiality of long-term brain damage. So, when I came across an article talking about using MDMA (ecstasy) to treat post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), my curiosity was sparked. Psychedelic drugs have been used to treat mental illness before, and with some success: In the 50s and 60s, psychology was in a Freudian phase, viewing psychological issues as conflicts between the conscious and unconscious minds. At that time, psychedelics were used to allow patients to face their unconscious minds while awake, which purportedly eliminated the variables of memory retrieval. Still, these methods of treatment weren’t without controversy.  With the influx of street use, and folks like Timothy Leary telling people to “”Turn on, tune in and drop out,” the use of psychedelia to treat mental illness was met with great discernment and fell to the wayside.

Currently, interest in using MDMA and other psychedelics to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and PTSD is gaining traction. MAPS is doing extended research on this subject, and states that MDMA isn’t the street drug we call ecstasy, noting that while ecstasy contains MDMA, it also may contain ketamine, caffeine, BZP, and other narcotics and stimulants. According the MAPS site they are “undertakinga 10-year, $10 million plan to make MDMA into an FDA-approved prescription medicine.” They are also “currently the only organization in the world funding clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. For-profit pharmaceutical companies are not interested in developing MDMA into a medicine because the patent for MDMA has expired. Companies also cannot profit from MDMA because it is only administered a limited number of times, unlike most medications for mental illnesses which are taken on a daily basis.”

The use of this drug has leaned so far from its psychotherapeutic roots, proving to be one of the most popular, highly sought-after street drugs around. Because of this, the useful aspect of this drug may easily be overlooked, forcing us to question how we can take something that has morphed into a social enigma and call it useful. I’m curious, will sufficient research place this drug at the discerning hands of medical professionals once again? And how do we, as a recovery community accept this when we have kids coming in suffering from the long-term, negative effects caused by this very drug?

Related articles:

MDMA May Help Relieve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder(time.com)

Ecstasy As Treatment for PTSD from Sexual Trauma and War? New Research Shows Very Promising Results (alternet.org)

Clinical Study of MDMA Confirms Benefits Noted by Therapists Before It Was Banned (reason.com)

Neuroscience for Kids

Ecstasy Associated With Chronic Change in Brain Function