ARTICLES, DRUG ABUSE & EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL. REHABILITATION
Party Drugs: An Easy Way to Kill Your Party
Party drugs including MDMA, molly, ecstasy, and opioids are often man-made, usually mixed with “fillers” and sometimes other drugs (like speed), and can be an easy way to kill the party—literally.
MDMA or methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is the real name for molly and ecstasy, though the latter two may have slightly different chemical makeups. Molly is more common in some party circles than ecstasy these days, and is more often referred to in pop culture (i.e. the controversial Miley Cyrus “We Can’t Stop” in which she says the lyrics are “Dancing with Miley instead of “Dancing with Molly,” but either way the lyrics still talk about “trying to get a line in the bathroom” because cocaine and its kissing cousins still maintain their popularity decades after their first heyday).
MDMA is derived from amphetamine (think methamphetamine) and is part of the phenethylamine family. These chemicals can be hallucinogens, stimulants, or entactogens, which is what most part-goers are after. Entactogens are what make users feel a close, loving connection to those around them. Not only are these drugs in their correct makeup potentially dangerous and deadly, entactogens can be a factor in date rape, and you never really know what pills you’re taking and what they may be filled with.
MDMA is illegal and unregulated, so when a partygoer indulged in what they call molly or ecstasy, it could be anything ranging from pure MDMA to nothing even close to MDMA. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, MDMA ranks at the top of the list for the most adulterated illegal drug. In its pure form, it’s a synthetic that makes the user feel energetic, distorts their perception, and maximizes empathy. MDMA can come in a tablet or capsule, but the 2017 Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables revealed that most ecstasy pills contain some MDMA at a wide variety of concentrations. They’re sometimes filled with placebos, but can also be filled with drugs that have a variety of dangers in their own right. Methamphetamine is a popular filler, but heroin, cocaine, and phencyclidine (PCP) have also been widely found in studies.
Since it’s impossible to know what’s in a street drug, it’s impossible to know the full side effects. However, “speed-like” drugs, such as meth, can speed up the heart rate and cause cardiac arrest in any user, but particularly those with existing heart conditions. Washington and Florida researchers found in 2013 that street molly drugs were often methylone, which is a stimulant common in bath salts. A similar synthetic, ethylone, acts similarly but attaches to the brain in a different way.
Many partygoers take MDMA in hot, crowded places like clubs where they’ll dance for hours. The drug, combined with the place and activities, drastically increases body temperatures, which can cause lethal consequences. High blood pressure, panic attacks, seizures, and losing consciousness are all relatively common side effects of MDMA.
Researchers who have injected rats with MDMA found that the body cannot regulate temperature, which can lead to hyperthermia (overheating, sometimes to death). It also leads to sodium imbalances, muscle breakdown, brain swelling, and even kidney failure. Dehydration is a side effect many MDMA users experience, which is dangerous by itself but can also lead to over-hydrating with water. A person can die from over-drinking water, and, in some cases, it doesn’t take much. Medical News Today reports that one man died from over-drinking water with just 1.5 gallons in a three-hour period. When a user is on MDMA and has poor, distorted perception, it can be very easy to over-drink.
MDMA has been shown to lower how well the heart can pump in regular users, especially during physical activity. Clenching the jaw, depersonalization, delusional thoughts, nausea, and illogical thoughts are also potential side effects of MDMA usage. Users have reduced ability to perceive motions, such as telling whether or not they’re driving well or if an oncoming car is a threat. Regular users also report poor appetite, the inability to concentrate, depression, sleep issues, heart disease, and increased impulsivity. However, since you don’t know what a supposed MDMA tablet really contains, the possible side effects are endless.
Article provided by Trevor McDonald