Growing concerns are circulating with the citizens of Madison County about a new drug on the streets called molly. Beginning as a popular club drug, molly is known as several names, such as pure MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), ecstasy and molly, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). It’s a synthetic drug with its effects lasting three to six hours. According to the NIDA, molly users take the drug in several forms, such as a capsule, pill or tablet. Molly is a form of ecstasy and is similar to stimulants, amphetamine and hallucinogen mescaline. Luci Strickland, a nurse practitioner at Madison County Memorial Hospital, said molly is presented to the community as ‘molly’ but found in bath salts. Bath salts is the term used to refer to a family of drugs that contains various synthetic chemicals related to an amphetamine-like stimulant, cathinone, which is found in the khat plant, according to the NIDA. Bath salts, although not those used for a soothing bath, are labeled and sold as “not for human consumption” on foil and little plastic packages. The substance appears as brown or white crystalline powder. “There are numerous side effects of molly, including agitation with time sense, anxiety, euphoria, increased hunger and thirst, altered level of consciousness, feelings of intimacy, perspiration, pulmonary edema, ringing of the ears, irritability, increased respiratory rate with nausea and vomiting,” said Strickland. “I have probably treated five or six people and I’m sure there’s more that come through at night when I’m not here. I’ve seen a lot of agitation. We have young people that are using this and some of them are going to have detrimental side effects. Some may have them for the rest of their life because of what it does to the brain.”
MDMA affects the brain by three neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, according to the NIDA. MDMA increases activity among the three neurotransmitters and likely causes serotonin to discharge. Gloria Monts, a Madison resident, said the drug has a bad impact on the community. “We have to pray for our children, especially teenagers,” said Monts. “Recently a person was killed by someone who was believed to be on the drug and he doesn’t remember killing the victim. They’re trying these drugs that are introduced to them and don’t realize the impact it has on them.” Lt. James Roebuck of the Madison Police Department, said there have been reported incidents of the drug molly. “It’s definitely out there on the street and it’s impacting people in a bad way,” said Roebuck. “We’ve had a few incidents where we had to Baker Act people because they were seeing people chasing them and no one was there, hallucinations and things of that nature.” To be cognizant of the drug, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and if you suspect anything suspicious, report it immediately.