October 4, 2013

CONTACT: Peter Anderson / Peter.Anderson@erie.gov

Phone: (716)858-8500 / Mobile: (716) 270-7842


Synthetic Drug Linked to Deaths Can Contain Several Chemicals, Changing Formulations

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein warned about the dangers of “Molly”, a synthetic drug generally described as a powder or crystalline form of Ecstasy. While the common assumption among Ecstasy users is that “Molly” is pure MDMA (3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine), the substance is rarely MDMA but rather other chemical compositions that can lead to unexpected, toxic effects. Typically, “Molly” is found in powder form and packaged in capsules, selling for $10-20.

“Molly” is a synthetic cathinone that has been marketed as a powdered form of MDMA, which is “allegedly” the purest form of MDMA. Synthetic cathinones are a central nervous system stimulant having psychoactive properties similar to amphetamines, cathinones, MDMA, and other related substances/analogues. In the last four years, the majority of seizures of drugs that were purported to be pure “Molly” were found to be synthetic derivatives, most commonly 4-MEC or Methylone. The danger is that when a user ingests “Molly” they can never be sure exactly what they are putting into their body.

“The dangers of using a substance like ‘Molly’ are very real and always changing,” said Burstein. “Synthetic drugs or ‘designer’ drugs are composed of always-changing chemical combinations that can have serious, life-threatening consequences for users. With drugs like ‘Molly’ and its derivatives, users are gambling with their lives when they decide to ingest these substances, as there is no way of knowing who created these drugs, the substances and chemicals added to the product, or the amounts of these substances that were added.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell stated, “Evidentiary chemical analysis of DEA seizures throughout New York State of ‘molly’ resulted in finding that only 9% of exhibits were MDMA whereas 58% were 4-MEC reinforcing that ‘molly’ users have a deadly misconception of what they are putting into their bodies. The use of ‘molly’ has spread throughout entertainment venues across the country with drug traffickers marketing ‘molly’ as a pure, safe and fun drug when in actuality it is not pure, not safe and not ‘molly’. Ingestion of these synthetic drugs has led to overdose deaths. Law enforcement and community drug awareness organizations are committed to warning the public of this toxic public threat in order to deter our youth from synthetic drug use and abuse. I commend the Erie County Department of Health for educating the public about the dangers and consequences of drug use. ”

While close in chemical structure to MDMA, “Molly” is now more closely related to “Bath Salts”, and contains many of the same analogues as bath salts. Ingestion can lead to labored breathing, rapid heartbeat, and elevated body temperature. When tested for chemical makeup, “Molly” exhibits are most often comprised of 4-MEC, 4-MMC, Methylone, MDPV, alpha-PVP, Pentedrone, MePP, or some combinations of these and other chemicals.

For more information:
On the Erie County Department of Health, visit http://www2.erie.gov/health/

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