A new drug craze is sweeping through Atlanta and it is targeting teens and college students.
Channel 2’s Justin Farmer looked at the effects of the illegal drug being called Molly. The popularity of the club drug has been growing for years and references are surfacing in pop, electric and hip-hop songs. It produces feelings of euphoria, but the side effects could be deadly.
Molly is the code name for the drug MDMA, the main ingredient in Ecstasy. The difference is that Ecstasy usually comes in pill form and is commonly mixed with other drugs. Molly is pure MDMA and usually comes in a powder or capsule.
"It's pure and there is more of it. It is clearly dangerous," said Atlanta DEA Special Agent Harry Sommers.
Sommers told Farmer that Molly causes your body to overheat, potentially causing hyperthermia. If untreated, that could lead to seizures, kidney or heart failure, and in rare cases death.
Sommers told Farmer the name "Molly" is just a marketing tool by drug dealers.
"Think about the name, Molly. It sounds like the girl next door. It sounds innocent. It sounds pure. It sounds OK," said Sommers.
"I think every teenager knows what it means," said Colin, a high school senior and local electronic DJ.
"You can't go to a show or a club or anything without people asking you, 'Have you seen, Molly?' Molly this, Molly that," said Colin.
Dr. Bob Margolis is executive director of Solutions, an outpatient drug rehab facility for adolescents and young adults.
"There is not a lot of research on this drug, so to say, ‘What are the long-term effects of the drug?' -- that we don't know about," said Margolis.
MDMA releases a surge of serotonin, depleting your brain of this important chemical. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the side effects include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving and anxiety which can last days and weeks.
"I have noticed extreme dehydration and people collapsing and things like that," said Colin about some of the people he has witnessed taking Molly.
"It's a crap shoot. So, you're taking a drug you don't know what it is doing to your brain. It is causing your brain to work overtime. It is causing your brain to release chemicals in a way that it was never intended to release normally," said Margolis.
Molly, or MDMA, is a synthetic drug and is part of the amphetamine family. It is a schedule one substance, which means that it has high abuse potential and has no recognized medicinal use. The DEA said the purity of Molly is almost a myth because it comes in powder form and can easily be mixed with other drugs, which makes it even more dangerous.
DEA officials told Farmer it is mainly manufactured in Canada or Asia. It is much more complex to make than meth. Officials said they have busted some Ecstasy labs in Georgia.