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Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed
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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.
Inside Higher Ed is a free, daily online publication covering the fast-changing world of higher education.
PBS NewsHour coverage of higher education is supported by the Lumina Foundation and American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Scott Jaschik is editor and one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and college publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon and more. He has appeared on the PBS NewsHour several times. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington D.C.
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