It’s a popular party staple that’s drawing the attention of people nationwide.
It’s nicknamed, “Molly,” and no — we’re not talking about a girl.
It’s a drug that has killed college students and the detrimental effects of taking it once will shock you.
It’s the date rape drug with deadly consequences and nowadays, it’s popular at music festivals, in music, and movies.
“There’s almost a sense for youth that they need to try it,” says Corporal Gabriel Olivera, a Criminal Investigator with the Harrisburg Vice Unit.
But just because there aren’t these Miami-style raves here, doesn’t mean the drug isn’t in Central Pennsylvania.
Corporal Olivera showed us a recent bust with Molly in Harrisburg.
There’s no denying it, and experts say the drug is more powerful than before.
That’s because MDMA, also known as Molly, is usually cut with other substances.
“When you get a capsule or a pouch of a packet of molly, you really have no idea what’s in there,” says Millersville Alcohol and Drug Counselor, John Baltzer.
Caffeine, ibuprofen, methamphetamines, and even bath salts — you name it — it’s probably been tried before.
Baltzer says illegal drugs and alcohol abuse comes in waves.
“Four loko came in like a tsunami, it was out of control,” says Baltzer.
The resurgence of Molly is another example of that and Baltzer says the past 5 years prove it.
“Emergency rooms have seen a 123% increase in the emergency cases that came in where ecstasy, MDMA, molly, was at the center of it,” says Baltzer.
ER Doctor, Kevin King, and his staff at Penn State Hershey Med, are the ones who see users who’ve either taken too much or are experiencing a bad, “trip”.
“Neurological problems because they can get hyponutriema their sodium can go low, they can end up with seizures, mental status changes, agitation, cardiovascular side effects from hypertension,” says Emergency Medicine Doctor, Kevin King, with Penn State Hershey Med.
But the most shocking of them all?
“Liver failure, kidney failure, these can be chronic problems or damage,” says King.
And that can happen from taking the drug, just once.
“Is it worth the risk? Um, it’s not,” says King.
Baltzer believes people — specifically college students — continue to take it for one sole reason and that’s to have fun.
“They just haven’t learned that lesson, they haven’t had that friend go to the hospital, it hasn’t really messed with their serotonin levels so much that you’re seeing, it’s a serotonin toxin, (so it can damage your brain?) Oh it absolutely can damage your brain,” says Baltzer.
And if you’re caught dealing?
Corporal Olivera says that’s an entirely different scenario.
“These are individuals that once upon a time probably dealt in crack cocaine, probably marijuana and they’ve now moved over to molly’s,” says Corporal Olivera.
Olivera says the charges are no different than selling crack cocaine, it’s a felony.
He’s spent 19 years as an undercover cop and says Molly dealers and users are often times, repeat offenders.
“No matter how weak or how strong somebody may consider it, it’s a gateway because as soon as you try it, you may become addicted, you may want to seek that euphoria again, and the problem is you will never get that first high and you will always be chasing the tiger’s tail,” says Olivera.