"Molly" may sound like the girl next door, but 9 Investigates has learned Molly is actually a code word often repeated in rap songs for a pure form of the drug Ecstasy or MDMA.
The club drug has gained popularity on central Florida college campuses thanks in part to the references in rap videos. But the drug is also blamed for a fatal overdose two weeks ago in Washington state, and physicians told Channel 9 reporter Karla Ray that Molly has many dangerous side effects.
Despite the dangers, the drug is easy to find, according to several University of Central Florida students.
“It's a little pill and you can either put it in your water, you can swallow it, you can just put it on your tongue,” one student said.
Many students who spoke to Ray said they know the drug by its street name, and some talked about how much they enjoy taking it.
“The entire experience was awesome. I can't lie,” another UCF student said.
The party drug is a powder or crystal makeup of pure MDMA or Ecstasy. Costing about $7 a capsule, it's a cheap high that keeps users euphoric for hours, but lately, Molly has sent more and more users to the emergency room.
“Most people use it and will often dance for an entire night. The downside is it also has other effects on your body,” said Dr. Josef Thundiyil.
Thundiyil said Orlando Regional Medical Center has seen an uptick in patients who have taken Molly. The synthetic drug, he said, poses a high overdose and dehydration risk.
“It can cause a skyrocketing of your blood pressure and your heart rate, temperature,” Thundiyil said. “It can cause disorders in your electrolytes.”
He attributes some of the resurgence in MDMA to popular culture. But the rap songs and videos don’t spell out the risks associated with the drug.
Medical experts and law enforcement officials said the most troubling concern about Molly is that it can be laced with anything, including household items such as flour or aspirin. Both have been used to stretch the drug, but Ray learned those ingredients are some of the safer add-ins.
“It can have amphetamines in it. It can have rat poison in it. You have no idea who the maker, whatever binding agent they choose to use to make that tablet,” UCF police Chief Richard Beary said. “You don't know what's in there.”
Beary insists his officers at UCF are well trained to spot the drug.
In April, Channel 9 first reported how a well-known UCF tennis player was caught trafficking MDMA.
Even though the drug is on law enforcement’s radar screens, students said they still know where to find Molly.
“I think everybody knows at least two people who sell it or, you know, somebody who knows a person who sells it,” one of the students said. “It's very easy to get.”
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