Ecstasy, also known as MDMA or molly, is a synthetic drug that typically comes in the form of a capsule or tablet, but sometimes it is in powder form that is snorted.
Well known for its use in nightclubs and raves, ecstasy is a club drug taken by users for its euphoric and mind-altering effects. Some research suggests that ecstasy is also a gateway drug that can lead to the use of harder and more addictive drugs that then requires substance abuse treatment.
Traditionally and in its purest form, MDMA’s molecular formula is C11H15NO2, and it has a chemical makeup that is similar to amphetamines and hallucinogens. Unfortunately, like with many other synthetic drugs, more and more often the ingredients are being altered.
The Dangers of Counterfeit MDMA
Synthetic drugs are often made to mimic the effects of other drugs but are usually stronger and more powerful. Because these drugs are usually illegal and unregulated, even different batches from the same drug manufacturer can vary dramatically.
MDMA has been around for several years, but the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has noticed some alarming changes in the drug’s general makeup. They claim that users are actually taking counterfeit ecstasy more often than not, which can contain an assortment of drugs outside of the usual ingredients.1 While MDMA itself can be dangerous, this counterfeit molly comes with even more risks.
Ecstasy itself is known for its effects like euphoria and increased energy levels, but it also comes with some possible health risks. Some users experience muscle cramps, nausea, chills, sweating, blurry vision, heart problems, dehydration, and in serious cases, organ failure.2 In counterfeit ecstasy, other drugs may also be present such as meth, amphetamines, or synthetic opioids. The mixed ingredients can lead to dangerous and unpredictable drug effects that can cause even more damage to the body. Not to mention the fact that many people taking ecstasy will also drink alcohol or smoke marijuana while on this drug. Especially if these drugs are taken frequently, serious long-term health effects may develop.
Another problem with counterfeit MDMA is the possibility that the drug is laced with other deadly drugs. In a study that looked at hair samples of people who had taken ecstasy, only half of the samples contained MDMA. Instead, 49% contained butylone and 10% contained methylone.3 These chemicals are actually bath salts that are highly toxic and not labeled for human consumption. In some cases, the DEA has also confiscated counterfeit ecstasy that contains the deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl.1 Even taken in small amounts, fentanyl can lead to an opioid overdose.
Because counterfeit molly can be a mix of several different substances, it may be cut with some highly addictive drugs. Frequently, users may come to crave these drugs and start using them more and more. At Banyan, our medical drug detox center in Stuart helps people safely wean themselves off of all of the substances that they have become dependent on. Especially for people who are mixing several different drugs, detox can be uncomfortable and dangerous without medical supervision.
At Banyan Detox Stuart, our intensive inpatient program helps people quit their addictions and learn how to live life without these substances.
- FOX San Antonio - DEA: Molly isn't what most users think it is
- NIH - MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) DrugFacts
- ScienceDirect - Detection of “bath salts” and other novel psychoactive substances in hair samples of ecstasy/MDMA/“Molly” users