It comes in a clear capsule filled with tiny white crystals. It is marketed as a pure form of MDMA, the main ingredient in the drug Ecstasy. It goes by the street name of "Molly."
Fans all over the country praise "Molly" as a "safe high," often linked to raves and electronic dance festivals. The national Drug Abuse Warning Network has reported a 120% increase in the number of emergency room visits involving "Molly" from 2004 to 2011.
If an earlier generation navigated the nightclub-and-nightlife scenes in New York and Los Angeles fueled by hits of cocaine, "Molly" is now the new spike for staying up all night. But at what price?
Over the Labor Day weekend, two people died at the New York Electric Zoo festival after ingesting "Molly" and at least four others were hospitalized in critical condition. Two other deaths over that holiday weekend, one in Washington state and one in Boston, were also linked to the drug.
"Molly" was a fixture at this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and is enjoying a rise in the Los Angeles club scene. Parents and authorities would be wise to start brushing up on their homework and being able to identify all of the signs and dangers associated with this very potent substance.
MDMA, the primary ingredient found in "Molly," is not a new drug. It was used in the 1970s and 1980s for psychotherapy and in experiments on patients who had difficulty coping with post-traumatic stress.
The drug earned a bad reputation in the 1990s when it was marketed as Ecstasy and combined with other dangerous chemicals. "Molly" is supposed to be an unaltered form of MDMA, but unless you are the chemist in the lab mixing it, you can never be certain.
"It makes me lose all my worries, and forget why I wake up and don't want to go to work, and why I hate the subway, and why I hate homeless people asking for money," Zack Daniels, a 20-year-old New York City club goer, told a reporter. "It makes me forget all of that and just appreciate the good things in life."
People have believed the same myths about beer, about whiskey, about marijuana and about cocaine before there ever was a "Molly," And the truth is there is no magic potion or drug that can do what they say it does. It doesn't erase your worries about your family, your job or your bank account. When the drugs or alcohol wear off, those problems are still there waiting for you.
These narcotics are used, instead, as anesthetics, to numb the senses and deaden our nerves.
"Molly" is just the latest incarnation of a "cure" that has been with us since the eras of absinthe and opium. It's an age-old problem with shiny new packaging. And it's worth calling attention to, before someone we know or love is killed from using it.
Pay attention and steer people in your life away from "Molly."
She's not the kind of girl you want in your life - no matter how tempting her offer.