Melanie Dostis, USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent
USA TODAY - Her name was all the rage this past weekend, even though she's been talked about for years. Despite the innocent-sounding name, the club drug "Molly" is creating waves of trouble for young concertgoers.
"Molly," slang for molecular, is the pure crystalline powder form of the popular club drug MDMA, which, in pill form, is known as ecstasy and is often mixed with other substances, such as caffeine.
The drug caused outrage this past weekend when New York's popular multiday Electric Zoo Festival (EZoo) was shut down after two young people died of suspected Molly overdoses. The news followed a similar incident at Boston's House of Blues last week where another suspected Molly overdose death occurred.
Frustrated fans of electronic dance music (EDM) took to social media to voice their anger and disappointment but most shared one sentiment: The EDM culture is being newly defined as a stereotype emerges.
"Drug use is now being associated with this culture, which is upsetting," says Rebecca Persaud, 21, a senior at Northeastern University. "You have people like me and my friends who genuinely love the beats and want to hear it come to life at these concerts."
Persaud had tickets for the now canceled date of EZoo, as well as tickets to see Zedd at the House of Blues, also canceled last week.
New York University senior Jennifer Caceres also had tickets to the canceled EZoo show and sees a growing drug culture, not unique to EDM, as the problem.
"I've been to festivals that aren't exclusively EDM related -- Governor's Ball, Made In America --where I noticed people asking for Molly or clearly on Molly, so I know it's not only EDM festivals that you can find this at ... I do believe it's because of the growing drug culture, and just like the drug of the '60s was LSD, the drug of our era is Molly," she says.
And though many students and young people are encountering it for the first time, the electronic music/dance scene has long been associated with ecstasy use.
Whether Molly's link to the EDM scene is clear or not, the use of the drug is on the rise. MDMA-related emergency department visits have more than doubled in the past six years, according to data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network.
The growing resurgence of the drug can be linked to its increased mention and glamorization in popular music. Miley Cyrus sings about "dancing with Molly" in her latest chart-topper, "We Can't Stop." Other artists such as Rick Ross, Kanye West and Mac Miller have referenced Molly.
Not all popular culture references to the drug are bad, though.
Popular American deejay Kaskade took to Twitter after EZoo's cancellation to remind fans that his music, not drugs, can take them to the moon. "That's my job. I believe 100% it can be life-changing and uplifting when you are 100% sober," he wrote.
Acting as a stimulant and psychedelic drug, the negative aftereffects of Molly can be life-changing and include drug cravings and depression that last for days or weeks after, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As the effects last for less than six hours, it is common for users to combine Molly with other drugs or alcohol.
"People who still continue to use Molly, preach saying that Molly must be used 'responsibly,'" Caceres says. "What does that even mean? There's no such thing. ... The only way to make sure that nothing happens to you is to simply not do the drugs at all."