After weighing the highs and lows of an illegal drug, one Ohio State student decided it was worth the potential costs to get into a “party mood.” An OSU professor, though, said the biggest risk comes from users not knowing what’s specifically in any given pill.
The New York City Electric Zoo Festival, an electronic dance music concert, was canceled before its final scheduled day, Sept. 1, after two concertgoers died from causes linked to MDMA-usage. Molly is the crystal or powder form of MDMA, which is the chemical used in synthetic drug Ecstasy.
A third-year female finance student at OSU, who requested anonymity because of the drug’s illegal nature, told The Lantern while she sometimes uses Molly at events such as concerts or parties, her main concern is knowing the product she is purchasing is safe to use. Rumors surfaced a few months back that people died at a concert near Columbus from using Molly and her dealer refused to sell it to her, she said, “just in case it may have been the same strand.”
She added, though, that because she knows her dealer, she feels fine using the drug.
“You just need to trust the people you get it from,” she said.
The student said she uses Molly because it makes her feel excited and happy.
“Everything is really soft and very bright,” she said. “You may combine it with other drugs or alcohol but it just gets you in a party mood.”
Lane Wallace, professor and chair of the College of Pharmacy, said the chemical MDMA, short for methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is typically no more dangerous than many antidepressants or other controlled substances.
“If you actually have the pure chemical and know how much you have and use the right amount, then I would say (MDMA) is relatively safe,” Wallace said. “The issue here is that our students don’t know what they are putting in their bodies, a certain drug that is reported to be a certain dose of one chemical (that) in reality may be 10 times that.”
MDMA was made illegal in 1986 when it was classified as Schedule 1, a list of drugs with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use in the U.S.
Wallace said the concern with Molly lies in the fact that the drug is not legal, so there is no way to regulate the purity of what is actually being sold.
“You basically can’t know and have to go by experienced users who say, ‘Whoops, this batch doesn’t have the same effects as what I’m used to,’” Wallace said.
During a one-year drug bust that ended in spring 2013, detectives from the Franklin Country Drug Task Force and University Police were sold a drug being called Molly that was later found to be bath salts, OSU Police Captain Eric Whiteside said in November.
Bath salts are a synthetic drug with effects including paranoia, hallucinations and violent behavior, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
The OSU student, though, said typically she doesn’t get concerned about the potential negative effects.
“I actually have a heart condition so I do think about the dangers a lot, but I’m never too worried about it,” the third-year student said. “If I ever feel myself getting too amped up, I’ll get a glass of water and take a break.”
Wallace said as with any prescription drugs, taking MDMA in the wrong quantities or scenarios can lead to negative outcomes.
“We do know that very high amounts of this can cause damage to certain kinds of neurons in the brains, so one has to be very careful with dose,” Wallace said.
The OSU student said she isn’t sure whether the drug is becoming more prevalent but added that it seems to be.
“I think it is becoming more popular but I know people who have been using it for years,” the female student said. “You don’t do Molly to just hang out at a house.”
Whiteside said OSU Police are aware of a rise in popularity of synthetic drugs, but officers have not found the use of Molly to be an immediate concern on campus.
Wallace said the drug’s seemingly recent fame is because of the increased popularity of electronic dance music, though he added MDMA usage could just be its own fad.
“It’s a lot like fashion,” Wallace said. “The popularity of it goes in and out.”