Pop culture contributes to rise in popularity of party drug ‘Molly’

CONYERS — Molly can be a sweet name to some, but to those in law enforcement, it means something menacing — and dangerous.

Investigator William Bowen with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office said the drug commonly known as Molly — which is a powdered form of the drug Ecstasy — can be appealing, particularly to people who are generally shy, because it makes users feel more outgoing and social.

“It’s very appealing to someone not generally comfortable in social settings,” Bowen said.

The drug is often used in social settings, especially in dance clubs and at raves, and is described as a “party drug” that appeals to young adults from the ages of 20 to 30 years.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, people using Ecstasy, or Molly, “experience heightened sensations and want to intensify these feelings by dancing, talking and touching.”

Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jason Welch said the drug is designed to stimulate all the senses.

“Visuals, sounds, smells, your sense of touch are all amplified by five or 10 times,” he said.

Because it is a feel-good drug used in association with a party culture, the dangers of the drug are often ignored.

“The real problem with Molly is that it increases your core body temperature to dangerous levels,” Bowen said.

For example, he said, a parent will generally take a child to the emergency room if his fever is 104 F or higher. With Molly, a person’s temperature can be as high as 118 F. Welch said people using Molly have reported having stroke-like symptoms.

The increase in body temperature to dangerous levels can be compounded because Molly is often used in party situations where there are alcohol, other drugs, large crowds and dancing.

“The biggest message that needs to get out there about Molly is that it can kill you because it is really cooking your brain,” Bowen said.

NCSO Deputy Cortney Morrison said many young people can be deceived about Molly because it is glamorized in pop culture by popular singers, such as rap star Tyga and pop singer Miley Cyrus.

“It is being portrayed as if it’s cool,” Morrison said. “People can say that these pop stars shouldn’t be role models, and no, they shouldn’t, but the fact is they are.”

Welch, who is the narcotics and vice supervisor for RCSO, said he has seen a rise recently in the popularity of Molly. He said it’s not the primary drug problem in Rockdale County, but the number of cases involving Molly has nearly doubled in the past six months.

“Part of that reason is because it is very much a part of the pop culture. You can’t turn on the radio without hearing about it — it’s everywhere,” he said. “It’s a really bad drug in the sense of its popularity, which is the most disturbing to me.”

Another fact about Molly that users may not consider is that it is often mixed with different kinds of drugs that can be more dangerous, such as cocaine or methamphetamine.

“You got to think you are buying from dope dealers and you have no idea what they have cut into their product to maximize their profit,” Bowen said.

Bringing meth into the mix with drugs like Molly can be particularly troublesome because of the highly addictive nature of methamphetamine.

Bowen said meth is one of the most highly addictive drugs because it can destroy the body’s natural ability to create endorphins, which provide a natural sense of euphoria.

“Meth makes it impossible to recapture that sense of euphoria without taking it again,” he said.

Welch said another trend that is being seen by law enforcement officials is Molly being mixed with a narcotic that has the same components as bath salts, which can have more serious side effects.

Welch said Molly is relatively easy to spot when it is put in capsule form because the capsules used are ones commonly found at drug stores. They are clear and crudely put together, he said.

Sheriff’s departments in both Rockdale and Newton counties offer a number of community awareness programs to deal with the problem of drug use. For more information about those or any questions about illegal drugs, call the Newton County Sheriff’s Office at 678-625-1400 or the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office at 770-278-8200.