Everything in this world is subject to trends. Fashion, art, movies, politics, music, and even drug use. At Southeast Addiction, we believe it is our job to stay educated, to stay knowledgeable about the current trends of drug use and addiction not just in our communities, but throughout the United States. We do this so that we can provide the absolute best addiction treatment in Nashville TN and GA. Drug use doesn’t stop at state boundaries, and what happens on one side of the US doesn’t necessarily stay there.
One of the most popular party drugs with younger age groups is molly. Like most recreational drugs, the potential for abuse is high and there are many adults and young adults that start off with infrequent usage but slowly slip into a pattern of dependency or branch off to other drugs.
What is Molly?
Molly is the street name for for MDMA—or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine according to drugabuse.gov. MDMA is a synthetic drug with psychoactive properties. Chemically, it has a similar structure to methamphetamine.
MDMA has a long history in nightclubs and other typical party venues but lately the drug has seen a broader popularity with a new generation under the name Molly and for slightly older generations, Ecstasy. As a party drug, Molly usage is always a concern—especially for cities such as Nashville that have a vibrant and growing nightlife scene. Another reason why addiction treatment in Nashville TN is so important to provide.
Are Molly and Ecstasy the Same?
Molly and Ecstasy are in fact both names for the same substance—MDMA. However, the social connotations of the drug names are different, leading people to believe they are different substances.
The truth is, they are the same but there is a perception that Ecstasy is less “pure” than Molly. Molly is considered to be pure MDMA, and as such it is dangerously believed to be somehow safe to use in contrast to Ecstasy.
The origin of this misconception does lie in some factual truth, however, as Ecstasy has been known to be “cut” with other substances as part of the appeal of the drug whereas Molly generally is pure MDMA. The reason why this belief is dangerous is that an unknown substance is an unknown substance. If someone hands you illicit drugs the truth is you may be told one thing, but you cannot say with any certainty what it is you are about to consume.
Many people with substance use disorders die every year by overdosing on opioids because they didn’t know they were laced with fentanyl. Despite this being relatively common, people continue to suffer from dependency on opioids. The epidemic is far from over, and so Southeast Addiction continues to keep our doors open to those who are in need of opioid rehab in TN and GA.
MDMA Use Statistics 2021
MDMA use was at a constant from the 80s onward, alongside the other mélange of drugs that were being consumed in the nightlife scene. Alcohol is always present, but so too were drugs such as cocaine, GHB, methamphetamine, and LSD.
Ecstasy/MDMA use had a rise concurrent with overall increase in drug use in the 90s. The 1990s was a decade that was defined by a strong emphasis on fighting drug use, with the D.A.R.E program being particularly memorable for Millennials.
Ecstasy use among adolescents from 1999 to 2008 was defined by a notable increase of use from 1999 to 2002, followed by a decline from 2002 to 2005.
It was estimated in 2014 that more than 17 million persons will have tried MDMA at least once in their life. Corresponding with the data listed prior, this is up from roughly 11 million people who reported 10 years prior in 2004.
Why Has MDMA Use Gone Up?
While it is hard to track the exact reason why the usage of certain drugs increase or decrease, one thing is for certain: the popularity of large scale, multi-day music festivals have contributed greatly to the resurgence of various euphoric drugs such as Molly, LSD, mushrooms, etc.
EDM is an extremely popular music genre and there are numerous festivals that have gained fame through name alone. EDC, Ultra, Electric Forest, Coachella, the list goes on. People pre-meditate drug usage for going to these festivals. The drug of choice? MDMA.
Of course, it’s no news to say that you can find most drugs at a music festival. Particularly, Molly stands out as a drug that young adults try because they somehow feel that it is “not as hard” as other drugs. Because of the feeling of euphoria, oneness, love, bliss, etc, that the drug can impart, there is less of a negative connotation with it as compared to the disinhibiting behavior of alcohol which can be destructive and lead to terrible hangovers.
These beliefs are unfounded, as we will address in the next section.
What are the Effects of Molly/MDMA? Is Molly Dangerous?
Is Molly Dangerous? An important part of providing addiction treatment in Nashville TN is understanding the actions and consequences of the drugs we seek to help individuals free themselves from.
Molly (MDMA) can make a person feel euphoric, accepting, harmonious, fearless, and highly stimulated to touch and other visual and auditory stimuli. A typical dose can last 3-6 hours.
If this feels like an endorsement of the drug: it’s not. Molly, like other drugs, have high abuse potential and can have both acute and long-term effects on a person’s health that make recreational use of the drug inadvisable and downright dangerous.
Molly principally works by interacting with three chemicals in your brain: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is used to send messages to nerve cells. Dopamine is widely referred to as the pleasure chemical. While the action of chemicals in our bodies are complex, the simple explanation is that dopamine is incredibly important to people for its ability to motivate us or focus on tasks.
Ordinarily, a person has a baseline consciousness they are experiencing, and when they do something pleasurable or something they find interesting, the brain rewards us with dopamine. Much has been written in modern scientific literature about how overexposure to dopamine can lead to an array of negative mental health consequences such as depression.
Dopamine is involved in many different processes, not just pleasure. For example:
- Heart rate
- Function of the blood vessels
- Pain tolerance and processing
- Nausea and vomiting
And many more things.
However, dopamine is the least released out of the 3 when a person uses MDMA/Molly. Ingesting MDMA causes a huge dump of serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin is incredibly important for regulating mood and a host of other behaviors and factors such as appetite, sleep, and more. Because of serotonin’s immense effect on mood, the large release of it when doing Molly is a big part of what creates the drug’s pleasurable effects.
This release can and will significantly reduce the amount of available serotonin in the brain for days after taking the drug, leaving the person to suffer from the effects of serotonin depletion—such as depression, anxiety, impaired memory and attention, paranoia, the list goes on. Because of the depressive after-effects, many people recall the high of feeling blissful and happy and a cycle of abuse is established. Molly creates the problem, then fixes it.
What’s more, MDMA use can and will damage nerve cells that transport serotonin, leading to issues related to low serotonin even after discontinuing use. The question we posed at the beginning, “Is molly dangerous?” is one that we feel not enough young adults ask themselves. Despite the drug’s reputation of being “pure”, there’s no guarantee it isn’t cut with other harmful substances much like what happens with Ecstasy. Furthermore, we have established that damage can be observed even after discontinuation–so even if the MDMA you received was “pure”, it is still ultimately a harmful substance.
Addiction Treatment Nashville TN
Southeast Addiction provides addiction treatment in Nashville TN. We also have a location in Georgia. We recognize that the southeast coast of the US is a place that has been hit particularly hard by addiction.
It is our goal to help as many individuals as we can extricate themselves from the vicious cycle of addiction and dependency.