Decades-Old Club Drug Sees Resurgence with Teens

Molly, an old club drug with a new name, is catching on in a big way with teens and college students in the Bay Area and it’s getting plenty of free advertising from popular culture.

The club drug, known simply as Molly, is supposed to be the latest way to really “feel” the music. Singer Madonna seemed to be talking about it at a concert in Miami last year. Now hip-hop artists like Kanye West have taken it to a new audience.

“Obviously, it’s becoming a big hit. Everyone’s doing it. I’ve definitely been up for a whole night off Molly” said one 17-year-old teen. KTVU did not identify him because he is a client at Thunder Road drug rehab center in Oakland. He’s also among Molly’s new generation of users.

Molly is an innocent nickname for MDMA, known for giving users a feeling of euphoria and empathy toward others. It’s chemically the same as the drug ecstasy, which comes in pill form and can be mixed with other drugs. But some claim molly in powder or capsules is pure MDMA.

Collins is a program manager at Project Eden in Hayward. She says more teens, even middle-schoolers, at her outpatient center have mentioned experimenting with Molly in the last three months. Collins compares it to a spike in ecstasy’s popularity a decade ago fueled, in part, by the late Bay Area rapper, Mac Dre.

MDMA causes the brain to release a surge of Serotonin leaving it depleted of this important chemical. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, side effects can include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving and anxiety lasting for days or even weeks.