by Maya Kaufman
Where can I find this girl “Molly”?
With Summer Sendoff rapidly approaching, a sophomore who asked to remain anonymous due to the nature of the subject has encountered Kenyon students asking him this question. “Molly,” the nickname for a pure form of the drug MDMA (ecstasy) comes from the word “molecule,” which is what MDMA was known as in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to Substance Abuse Educator and Counselor Mike Durham. Mental health practitioners used MDMA for therapeutic purposes in the 1970s and early 1980s, but in 1985, it was designated as a Schedule I drug, a drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Today, Molly is ubiquitous at music festivals across the country for causing euphoric highs and a feeling of closeness to others and making users want to dance to no end. At Kenyon, especially for the annual Sendoff concert, students are not immune to the desire to experiment with drugs. This year’s Sendoff headliner, Danny Brown, has frequently mentioned using Molly in his music and in interviews.
“I know for a fact people will take Molly on Sendoff,” the sophomore said. He also knew of students who took Molly at last year’s Sendoff.
Molly today, however, is rarely a pure cut of MDMA, the sophomore warned. He said the drug, which comes in powder form, is more of a “chemical cocktail.” Molly can sometimes contain meth or bath salts, according to Durham.
An incident at Wesleyan University in February, in which 11 students were hospitalized for overdosing on Molly, shows that users may not know exactly what they are taking. Durham said that something like the Wesleyan incident could “absolutely” happen at Kenyon. He sent a Student-Info email on Feb. 23 notifying the campus of the story.
The sophomore has taken Molly twice at Kenyon. He paid his friend $10 for one point (0.1 grams), which he called the standard dosage of Molly — if he had not bought from a friend, he added, the price would have been higher. He decided to take Molly because his friends had used the drug before and had a fun experience; he also bought his Molly from a friend who had taken the same batch before, “so they know and you know that what you’re getting isn’t going to kill you,” he said.
The first time, he said, was “super fun.” The second time, however, he had a strange experience. “The high wore off really quickly, like within half an hour, and usually you roll for … two hours,” he said. “It’s very overwhelming, and people are constantly coming up to try and talk to you and … I was very scared.”
An upperclassman who also asked to remain anonymous due to the nature of the subject took Molly as a first year at the annual Shock Your Mom party. He paid a friend $35 per 0.1 gram for the drug, which the friend bought in New York, but bought and took 0.2 grams.
The upperclassman said his Molly experience was “alright” but that he would not take it again due to its price and how difficult it is to find on campus. “It was worth trying it at least once,” he said.
The upperclassman has also fielded requests from other students wondering where they can get Molly on campus. “It is hard to get,” he said. “If you know where to look you can find it. … Certain circles use it more than others. One of my good friends … used it pretty frequently freshman and sophomore year.”
Both the sophomore and upperclassman said that there are no Molly dealers on campus — instead, students bring the drug in from places like New York and if they sell it, it is mainly to friends.
“There’s no Molly culture at Kenyon, I really don’t think,” the sophomore said. “It’s like a treat. You know in advance when you’re going to do it.”
The upperclassman said the drug is generally used for specific events. “There are always certain people who ask around Shock Your Mom or Sendoff,” he said.
Durham warned that taking Molly in these situations is dangerous because it causes users to dance so much that they can overheat, dehydrate and pass out. If the drug is cut with other substances, it could also have longer-lasting or unwanted effects. A psychological dependence is also possible if the user takes it as an “escape or a go-to,” but Durham said he has “not seen anyone … that has ever come to me as a result of dependence on [Molly].”
Despite the drug’s relative popularity at events such as Sendoff, Molly has not experienced an increase in usage in recent years, as far as Durham knew.
The upperclassman agreed, adding that substances such as alcohol, marijuana and Adderall are much more common. “The drug scene has kind of gone more underground since I was a freshman,” he said. “It’s not as accessible as it once was.” Durham listed alcohol and marijuana as the top two substances used at Kenyon.
Although portions of the student body continue to seek out Molly, some, such as the anonymous sophomore, are aware of the consequences it can have. The sophomore said Molly has a prolonged comedown that causes him to feel “dumb” and can make it difficult to get work done.
“I dont know if I’m going to do [Molly] on Sendoff,” the sophomore said. “I don’t want to sap any remaining brain power that I have.”