EILERMAN: Let’s talk about Molly
Honest education and dialogue about MDMA is necessary
I want to preface the following opinion piece with a few statements for clarification purposes. What follows is by no means meant to be a condescending attack on MDMA users; rather, I hope to open up dialogue around a serious issue that does not currently receive enough attention. My perception of this drug and its potential consequences were completely reversed after a friend of mine passed away after taking MDMA (“Molly”) at a DJ set that we attended together. The goal of this piece is to facilitate a deeper thought process among potential users that leads to changed perspectives and could prevent the loss of a loved one. I have been to both Ultra Miami and EDCNY, both of which inevitably prompt others to ask, “…So, do you roll?” I completely understand and am aware of the fun that MDMA promises users.
A common misconception about twenty-somethings is that we are intentionally reckless, focused only on self-gratification instead of consequences. Not only is this assumption unfair and false, but when applied to how our policy makers and drug educators address rising MDMA usage rates in our generation, it is erroneous to a fatal extent.
I’m confident that most young adults who take these drugs do not do so with an intentional disregard for their consequences. Instead, there is a powerful stereotype associated with MDMA that leads to its perception as a relatively safe, fun substance that is not on par with other hard drugs. There is a pervasive ignorance as to how dangerous this drug actually is.
MDMA is branded as a drug that simultaneously offers recreational users a great time, while powerful mental and psychological effects appeal to more frequent users — all behind the innocuous name “Molly.” The name “Molly” diminishes the substance as a drug with very serious and real consequences. Is there even a stereotype for an MDMA addict? MDMA is most often taken at DJ sets and music festivals, and unless you hate sweat and waiting in long lines for port-a-potties more than you enjoy bopping around with your closest friends, these are usually viewed as fun, vivacious events. The absurdly alive MDMA user at these events — taking selfies highlighting their orb-shaped eyes — is a far cry from the stereotypes of drug addiction. Moreover, would we even consider repeat MDMA users to be addicts?
New forms of education and dialogue within our school systems, families and the media are needed to prevent drug related tragedies. Education programs are currently failing because they use statistics and a “just say no” mentality. What we need are programs that give us accurate information and the ability to weigh enticing behaviors against their risk. This thinking process is not being taught in the majority of classrooms and families, and it is simply not being addressed by drug legislation. Until there are programs in place that focus on risk and benefit analysis, there will always be another drug that pulls in young adults who could be swayed towards a dangerous behavior.
I question the notion that we can make conditions safe enough to keep medical emergencies due to MDMA from occurring. My friend passed away from a heat stroke due to the combined effects of MDMA and dancing for hours in a hot, crowded room. Her autopsy revealed that what she took was pure MDMA — a relatively uncommon phenomenon for a drug that is more often than not laced with something: caffeine, speed, dextromethorphan, and other methamphetamines. Implementing legislation mandating safer dancing conditions, such as colder venues, more frequent dance breaks, and more accessible water is a huge step in the right direction.
While using a drug test before a concert does not condone drug use per say, it seems to suggest that if you know what you are taking, it is not harmful. However, this fails to address issues of concentration, and differing metabolisms and sensitivities among individuals. Progressive education programs and dialogues are needed to provide safety in ways that these precautions simply cannot.
On Sunday, August 31, the Shooting Star Foundation is partnering with Delta Gamma, ADAPT, and the Sil’hooettes to hold an event that is an FOA and commemorative service to honor all those within the University community that have been impacted by drug use. The aim of this new CIO is to facilitate dialogues within the University community on the dangers associated with illicit drug use and to host commemorative events, such as this one. I hope that through events like these, we can create not only a support system for those within our community who are affected by these issues, but can also begin to collectively create dialogues and streams of thought to shed light on MDMA and its very real consequences.
Elyse Eilerman is a third-year in the Commerce School and the President of the Shooting Star Foundation.