MDMA, 'Molly,' New Drug of Choice Amongst NYC Elite
While MDMA, or "Molly," is known as a club drug used amongst young people, it is now making its way into the "respectable" parties of New York City's elite.
MDMA promotes feelings of euphoria, warmth and diminished anxiety. It is also the main ingredient in the other club drug, ecstasy.
Because it is thought of as a "pure" drug, containing nothing besides 3, 4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine, many believe it is safer and healthier.
Elliot, a New York woman who works in film, said she took MDMA for the first time a few months ago before going dancing with a friend.
"I've always been somewhat terrified of drugs," Elliot, 26, said. "But I'd been curious about Molly, which is sold as this pure, fun-loving drug. This is probably completely naive, but I felt I wasn't putting as many scary chemicals into my body."
But doctors are warning of the serious side effects the drug can produce, including dehydration, anxiety, insomnia, fever and loss of appetite.
ER physician Robert Glatter said he has seen an increase in people being admitted for using the drug.
"Typically in the past we'd see rave kids, but now we're seeing more people into their 30s and 40s experimenting with it," he said. "MDMA use has increased dramatically. It's really a global phenomenon now."
Glatter said it is possible to overdose on it, but that usually happens when it is mixed with another drug.
Many are blaming the drug's recent spike in popularity on the hip hop culture.
Devron Kelly, a hip hop radio show host, said many rap artists are now referring to it in their songs.
Trinidad James' "All Gold Everything" features a lyric, "Popped a Molly, I'm sweatin."
"Basically, it's just a new drug, so you're going to have kids experimenting with whatever they hear the latest rappers talking about," Kelly said.
Even bigger artists, like Madonna, are making references to the drug. At Ultra Music Festival in Miami last year, the singer asked the audience about Molly. She received much criticism for the reference and claimed she was referring to a friend's song, not the drug.
And rapper Rick Ross was recently dropped from Reebok as a spokesman after he rapped about slipping Molly into a woman's champagne.
"I think the biggest difference with Molly as opposed to previous drugs in relation to hip hop is that in past generations people would rap about selling drugs, and now they're rapping about doing them," Mike Barnes, another rap radio show host, said.
"With crack there was a high level of shame associated with using it … it wasn't really a chic or sexy thing."
When the drug first came out, medical officials warn that MDMA could lead to Parkinson's disease, a lifetime of depression and "holes" in the brain.
But now, doctors have disproven those claims. Dr. John Halpern, a psychiatrist at Harvard, said a new concern is that many powders sold as Molly don't actually contain any MDMA.
"You're fooling yourself if you think it's somehow safer because it's sold in powdered form," Dr. Halpern said.