Niagara Gazette

October 7, 2013

GUEST VIEW: On watch for 'Molly' and prescription drug abuse

By Larry Eggert
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Recently, news stories across the country have been warning about the increase in use and the dangers of the club drug called “Molly.”

Molly (short for molecules) is the powdered form of MDMA, which is the chemical used in Ecstasy. Molly is considered to be a much more pure and powerful form of MDMA.

Last month, New York’s Electric Zoo Festival ended early after two people died of suspected Molly overdoses. Recently, there was also a Molly overdose suspected at Boston’s House of Blues. This is not a new drug but rather a synthetic form of MDMA that is gaining popularity among teens and college students.

Molly, available mainly in a colorful tablet form, is popular at concerts, music festivals, raves and other places where young people congregate. Many famous recording artists including Madonna, Miley Cyrus and Kanye West have popularized Molly in their music. The interest generated by these “role models” has helped fuel interest in the drug in our young adults. 

One of the methods used to track the pattern of use of an illegal drug is to monitor emergency room visits. Unfortunately, emergency rooms across the country are reporting a spike in overdoses attributed to Molly.  

The drug can cause confusion, anxiety, depression, paranoia, sleep problems and drug cravings. It can also produce muscle tension, tremors, teeth clenching, chills and severe sweating. This synthetic drug interferes with the body’s ability to regulate body temperature, which leads to dehydration and the possibility of liver, kidney and even cardiovascular failure. 

The abuse of this drug is especially dangerous because people don’t know what other substances are mixed with it or the level of purity. Much Molly production is done in homegrown labs overseas by people with limited pharmacological or medical knowledge, who have no consideration for the welfare of the user.

It is important that parents, teachers, coaches and other community leaders be aware of sudden changes in a person’s behavior, friends and social activities. If you observe any of these behaviors in your children, investigate the cause immediately to determine whether your child or friend has been using Molly or any illegal drugs. 

It is important to catch this problem in the earliest stage when it is easier to correct.

Aside from Molly, another disturbing trend is the continued rise in the abuse of prescription and synthetic drugs. It is no longer just cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Now we’re challenged by the abuse of opiates or painkillers.

The most-abused drug in the city of Lockport is opiates. Opiates are a class of narcotic that includes heroin, morphine, hydrocondone, oxycodone, Opana, Fentanyl, Morphone and a list of others. 

Fighting prescription drug abuse is challenging because it does not carry the stigma of traditional street drugs, but it can have the same detrimental effect. Prescription drug abuse happens on every ethnic and socio-economic scale. On the street these pills go for anywhere from $10 to $80. Many people are getting legal prescriptions and selling the pills for a profit. 

Prescription drug abuse affects the entire community and we must all do our part to raise awareness through education and example.

One tool we use in our war on prescription drugs is our semi-annual drug drop off event. The Lockport Police, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration, will host our fall drop-off event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Lockport Plaza. You need only drive through and drop off any unwanted prescription drugs; there is no waiting and no questions are asked. 

If you miss the Oct. 26 event, there is a permanent drop-off box at the police station where you may dispose of any prescription medication anytime in a secure and monitored location.

Larry Eggert is Lockport’s chief of police.

Larry Eggert is Lockport's chief of police.