Eleven Wesleyan University students were hospitalized this weekend with symptoms consistent with use of the club drug known as “Molly.” One sophomore is in critical condition.
The increased use of Molly has been of concern to campus health officials since around 2013, when colleges started to see increased usage and several overdoses. Users consider Molly a pure form of ecstasy. Molly’s active ingredient is MDMA, a stimulant that produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria and empathy and creates distortions in sensory and time perception. Symptoms of MDMA use include confusion, a racing pulse, muscle spasms and seizures. Health experts have expressed fears that a single use of Molly could have devastating health consequences.
A fact sheet on Molly from the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that Molly is frequently mixed (not always visibly to users) with other dangerous drugs, adding to the potential health risks.
Wesleyan sent an e-mail to students Sunday morning, noting three student hospitalizations. But the number grew during the course of the day. The university said that it was investigating what happened, but would not have more details on Sunday.
In 2013, a vice president of the University of New Hampshire wrote to the students there after overdoses of one student at the university and another at Plymouth State University. “This is serious. Two New Hampshire college students have died in the last week,” the letter said.
Also that year, the University of Virginia sent warning videos to students after a U.Va. student used Molly while at a concert in Washington and died. The parents of a student at Texas State University at San Marcos also spoke out after their daughter died from taking the drug. While these tragedies have attracted attention, the number of Wesleyan students hospitalized stands out in comparison to previous reports.
The Monitoring the Future report on student drug use, a national study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, found last year that about 5 percent of college students reported ecstasy use in the prior 12 months. A summary of the report states that this represents increased usage, following a period of decline.
“Ecstasy use, after declining considerably between 2002 and 2007, from 9.2 percent annual prevalence to 2.2 percent, has made somewhat of a comeback on campus,” said the summary.
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