And while the drug, a purer, powdered form of Ecstasy chemically known as methylenedioxymethamphetamine, has been around for decades, it has lately surged in popularity with college students, and is being name-checked by mainstream artists ranging from Kanye West and Rick Ross to Miley Cyrus and Madonna.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Molly can be taken orally in powder, tablet or capsule form. The effects, which include a sense of increased energy, euphoria and empathy, can last from three to six hours after ingestion, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
It was first created as a diet drug in 1914, and in 1970s was used by doctors as an aid in psychotherapy. In the 1980s and 1990s it burst upon the club scene as a party drug.
Today, the drug is currently in clinical trials as a potential aid to treat post-traumatic stress disorder as well as anxiety in terminal cancer patients, according to DrugAbuse.gov.
But experts say Molly is becoming a popular party drug again — with reports of MDMA-related emergency room visits having doubled since 2004 — and can be dangerous to casual users for a range of reasons, with a major one being that it’s hard to detect when an overdose looms.
Dr. Meika Roberson of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York said that it’s very difficult for concert-goers who use Molly to sense whether or not they are on the brink of an overdose.
“The early signs of intoxication going over toward overdose of MDMA, of Molly, is going to be high heart rate, high respiratory rate and high blood pressure,” she said. “So if you're in a club scene, you're not feeling any of that.”