There’s a strange serial killer afoot. She goes by “Molly,” frequents the most posh spots, and is “in” with the in-crowd. For those unfamiliar with Molly, it is slang for a club drug that has killed an alarming number of young people this summer.
Molly, like the people that one inevitably encounters at discothèques, appears superficially appealing but eventually reveals a seedy side. The chic chemical plays as a metaphor for both the clubs and the club goers, providing an empty, fleeting illusion of fun. Good people rarely obsess over a good time.
Known as ecstasy when associated with ’90s rave music, a version of the drug goes by the name “Molly”—short for molecule—now that rave music calls itself electronic dance music (EDM). Back in the days of warehouse raves, ecstasy users could be identified by their penchant for pacifiers and manner of swinging glow sticks the way Bruce Lee swung nunchucks. Today, Molly users tend to be less conspicuous though more into conspicuous consumption—the drug can cost as much as $50 a pop and tends to attract the affluent. Users describe heightened energy levels and a desire to touch other people. The increased pulse rates and blood pressure unleashed can lead to heat strokes and heart attacks.
This past weekend, two revelers at an electronic dance music festival in New York City died after using the party drug. Last week, a 19-year-old Plymouth State University student died after allegedly overdosing on Molly at Boston’s House of Blues, which had turned away more than 130 seemingly intoxicated nutters from the venue. A second area club has been the scene of twelve non-deadly Molly overdoses this summer. The Paradiso Festival held in Washington state in June experienced more than 100 suspected Molly overdoses, including one fatality.
Whether called “ecstasy” or “Molly,” the names represent a triumph of marketing. Will pushers next sell heroin under the brand “schnookums”? Calling a deadly street drug “Molly” is diabolical in much the same way that selling fortified wine in colorful juice boxes would be. A few years back, in the spirit of science and for the benefit of American Spectator readers, I experimentally drank Four Loko—the controversial malt liquor then mixed with various stimulants—to describe the phenomenon of the wide-eyed buzz to the uninitiated. My enthusiasm for introducing strange chemicals into my body for the sake of my craft dulls somewhat when the concoction in question kills, so I cop to relaying Molly’s effects second-hand.
Whether the celebrities fond of giving onstage shout outs to Molly similarly know the drug through observation rather than experience, we can only guess. Madonna released an album last year titled “MDNA,” a play on both her name and the “MDMA” initialism for ecstasy. Kanye West name-dropped the drug in a recent rap. In the appropriately titled “We Can’t Stop,” the incontinent Miley Cyrus sings: “So la da di da di/We like to party/Dancing with Molly/Doing whatever we want.”
Only someone as young as Miley Cyrus, or her newly-dead fellow Molly enthusiasts, could believe you can do whatever you want without consequence. Chronology excuses her juvenility. What to make of the surge in narcotics use among Billy Ray Cyrus’s contemporaries?
Whereas illicit drug use among 12-17 year olds dropped from 11.6 to 9.5 percent since 2002, use among Americans in their fifties has more than doubled over the last decade. You can take the kids out of the 1970s. But you can’t take the 1970s out of those graying, paunchy kids.
The good news is that the rising generation demonstrates a greater immunity to the pop-culture pied pipers of poison than yesterday’s kids did. It’s cruel that the youngsters who fatally overdosed on Molly had to pay permanent costs for the fleeting naivety of youth. The fiftysomethings still behaving like reckless teenagers know better.