UMMS toxicologist explains dangers of ‘Molly’ club drug

By Bryan Goodchild and Lisa M. Larson

UMass Medical School Communications

September 05, 2013

UMass Medical School toxicologist Richard J. Church, MD, has a simple warning for young party-goers who may think the club drug “Molly,” an allegedly pure form of Ecstasy, is safe.

“Don’t trust your drug dealer,” said Dr. Church, assistant professor of emergency medicine. “The individuals that are using these products need to be aware that Molly is not the Molly they thought it was. It is not pure. It’s thought to be a co-formulation of multiple different adulterants which could range anywhere from caffeine to talcum powder to cocaine to other amphetamine substances.

“They should expect to have bad side effects.”

Health officials across the country are scrambling to educate the public on the dangers of the designer drug, after a recent spate of apparent overdoses, including the deaths of a woman at a Boston nightclub and two concert-goers at a New York music festival. Church said Molly—short for a more pure or “molecular” form of Ecstasy or MDMA—originated more than a decade ago, but emergency rooms have seen a resurgence in recent months.

Church said side effects include muscle breakdown, kidney failure, seizures, bleeding of the brain and death.

Learn more in this Expert’s Corner video.