by Don Penven
An alarming number of deaths recently linked to a street drug known as “Molly” has generated national concern among officials. While urban and suburban communities have been infested with synthetics like K2, Spice, Bath Salts, etc., a new wave of derivatives contain an even more lethal mixture of illegal compounds.
A fairly recent addition to the “designer drug” scene is “Molly.” Molly is a purified form of MDMA which is the main ingredient in Ecstasy. Investigators and a West Virginia drug expert said the Molly found locally is being mixed with a couple of other drugs.
“We’re seeing the term being used for a couple of hallucinogenic compounds,” said Carissa McBurney, spokeswoman for the West Virginia Poison Center. “It’s really concerning because West Virginia does not have the resources to readily test every case to determine its ingredients.”
A Greater Harrison Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force agent said the unit tested some of what was being billed as “Molly,” and it also contained cocaine and methamphetamine.
Task force investigators say that vendors add other drugs indiscriminately, and that’s why Molly is so hazardous. Persons taking this mixture suffer from confusion in their minds accompanied by anxiety, paranoia and depression.
Emergency room care-givers also note sleep problems sweats and chills that can lead to liver, kidney and even cardiovascular failure.
Dr. Mark Povroznik, chief quality officer for United Hospital Center, said what is more concerning is the fallacy that people believe they can get a purified form of MDMA off the street.
“The drug will be changed and altered and you have no clue what you are getting (from a drug dealer). You are taking advice from rumors that it is what they say it is,” Povroznik said. “People cannot rely upon history in terms of what to expect of a drug or its perceived safety. Just because MDMA has been around for years doesn’t mean what’s on the streets now is the same thing (that was here back in the ‘70s.)”
This uncontrolled mixing of these often-debilitating drugs results from the supply issue, task force members state. “Dealers will mix whatever they have on hand to increase the delivered quantity.
The task force officer agrees. When supply becomes an issue, dealers will mix it with anything to increase the quantity.
“It’s cut with other stuff and not pure, and that makes it even more dangerous,” a drug investigator said.
Adding to the dilemma, Molly is being given credibility by rappers and singers who make it seem far less lethal than it really is. Drug task force agents state that Molly is coming out of the larger metropolitan areas along with cocaine and heroin.
Police officials state that early education, community awareness and enforcement are all necessary to attack the drug epidemic. Education must start in the elementary schools and community awareness programs can also benefit a neighborhood regardless as to where it is.
“I think we need to educate the public and the schoolchildren as to the consequences if they decide to use the drugs,” said Janet Elliott, coalition coordinator. “We talk to them about what it can do to your body, health hazards and what to look for in your friends to tell if they are abusing drugs.”
The Prevention Partnership has people educated in these programs to teach and a lot are evidence-based programs with speakers, Elliott said.
Anyone who believes they may have ingested the drug “Molly” is urged to contact the Poison Center at (800) 222-1222.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers supports the nation’s 57 poison centers in their efforts to prevent and treat poison exposures. Poison centers offer free, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222. This service provides a primary resource for poisoning information and helps reduce costly emergency department visits through in-home treatment.
The AAPCC's mission is to actively advance the health care role and public health mission of our members through information, advocacy, education and research.