Residents have reached out to the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse (RCASA) with questions in recent days following a string of deaths and overdoses connected to the drug “Molly,” prompting the group to issue a press release stressing the dangers of the potentially lethal substance.
Molly, similar to ecstasy and slang for MDMA, is reportedly responsible for deaths at a House of Blues concert and a musical festival in New York, leading Yahoo News to refer to the “club drug” as “an old drug with terrifying new tricks.”
In a press release by the RCASA, the group said it is working closely with detectives to make sure the increasingly popular drug does not have a widespread impact at a local level.
“The Reading Police Department Detectives Division has been actively working on cases related to the substance to intervene and reduce the supply of the substance,” the press release said. “RCASA has focused on education and prevention.”
Molly has become popular at clubs and electronic music shows. According to the Boston Globe, the Quincy Police Department recently made eight arrests related to the drug after seeing 12 overdoses between Memorial Day and Labor Day inside Ocean Club at Marina Bay.
Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan told The Globe that the issue is appearing this year for the first time in recent memory.
“It hasn’t been a problem in the past,” Keenan said, according to the newspaper. “There is no indication that it was around the area. Maybe sporadically, but nothing large scale.”
According to the press release issued by the RCASA, five percent of high school age youth reported using MDMA in 2011. Of those surveyed, the group reported that 26 said they used the drug at least one or two times, eight used it three to nine times and three students used the drug more than 10 times.
The local percentage of teenagers using MDMA is lower than the state percentage of 6% and the national rate of 8%, according to the data compiled by the RCASA.
“Synthetics including ‘Molly’ are a subject that we learned a lot about this past summer,” said RCASA board member Sophia Kalogeris in the press release. “Our group was surprised to learn about some of the side effects of these drugs. It’s important that more youth get involved and learn about preventing further substance abuse.”
Click Here to read the RCASA press release in its entirety.