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ABC 17 News Special Report: growing club-drug trend

Published On: May 20 2013 10:22:52 PM CDT
Updated On: May 21 2013 08:24:30 AM CDT

Medical experts blame a so called club drug for anxiety attacks, seizures, and accidental deaths.

COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Medical experts blame a so called club drug for anxiety attacks, seizures, and accidental deaths. 

Here in mid-Missouri, use of the drug, often referred to as "molly," appears to be on the rise. 

While the drug's name may sound innocent, users believe the pills to be the purest form of another popular club drug called ecstasy. 

Calls to Missouri's Poison Control centers for molly have jumped from just a couple calls per year over the past three years, to six calls already in 2013. 

Young people we interviewed say they have heard of the drug, and are seeing more of it. 

We spoke to a man who has used molly, who described his experience.  "I was dancing around, acting like an idiot.  Everyone was in a good mood -- nobody was mad -- just loose and free." 

That same pill, however, contains a chemical that can be deadly. 

"Molly is actually the slang term," says Julie Weber, Director of Missouri Poison Control.  "It's molecular, which means it's the crystalline powder of another club drug called ecstasy, so it's the purest form."

Unlike ecstasy, molly is not mixed with anything, leading some to believe molly is safer.  Molly is an off-white powder that is usually sold in a gelatin capsule, made in illegal labs. 

The man who described his experience asked us to hide his identity.  He explained that after he snorted the drug his heart rate increased, and he felt dehydrated and overheated. 

Julie Weber says that reactions to the drug can be much worse.  "Even just a one-time use of it, a person could have a very serious seizure and hurt their hears, and actually have respiratory arrest and die."

Some states have reported deaths as a result of molly use.

Weber also says the drug can cause an increase in body temperature, which can lead to damage to your liver or kidneys.

Users may also experience an intense headache when mixing molly with alcohol.

Despite the dangers, molly appears to be relatively easy to find on the black market. 

The man who told us he used the drug says, "if you go to a club you'll just get asked if you want it, by random people walking around selling it."

Other young people we spoke to say they think the drug is getting easier to find, and more popular among certain crowds. 

The user we talked with says molly sells for about $60 - $80 per gram, or $15 - $20 for a pill. 

Columbia police arrested Adam Wilson in April, after serving a search warrant at his home.  They say they found marijuana in packages, molly, baggies, guns and scales.  But that arrest was rare -- Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Erik Eidson says, "we've heard a little about molly; it's not something we encounter on a wide basis throughout the state at this point." 

Eidson says that could be because users may think they are getting molly, but are really getting something else.  "It could be mixed with anything from meth, to other types of stimulants," Eidson says.  "You just never know what you are getting." 

Health officials share Eidson's concerns.  Julie Weber says, "there are no regulations on these drugs, and they are being abused; and then you're just at the risk of what else could be in there to cause more harmful effects." 

Poison Control officials fear that when someone may have a bad reaction to molly, they are turning to the internet for advice.  They want people to know they have trained health professionals manning phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Calls to poison control also help track the statistical use of the drug, but calls are kept confidential. 

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