That 'Trendy' Drug Your Kid Does Is the Same as Meth

06/01/2014 09:26 EDT | Updated 08/01/2014 05:59 EDT

What's in a name?

In this case, bath salts, crystal meth, baby powder, PCP and caffeine, to name a few.

An old substance with a fancy new name has hit the streets and is quickly becoming one of the trendiest of the designer drugs to ever hit the market. Ingenious dealer marketing, helped along by misguided celebrities, have created a monster that is slowly devouring our teenagers.

And it's a monster named Molly.

It's the name itself that is the genius part. Who could ever think that an innocent sounding drug like molly could ever do any harm? We all know the dangers of heroin, crystal meth and cocaine, but molly? Well, that just sounds adorable.

A short form of the word 'molecule,' molly is being marketed to teens and young adults as a 'pure' form of MDMA, what was once commonly referred to as 'ecstasy'. Youths who are new to the drug scene (and even avid drug users) are taking the dealers at their word.

And that terrifies me.

The DEA stated that only 13 per cent of 'molly' seized in New York State actually had any MDMA in it. And that 13 per cent wasn't 'pure' by any means. It had a mixture of other toxic chemicals including Methylone, MDPV, 4-MEC, 4-MMC, Pentedrone and MePP all mixed in with the MDMA.

I work with teenagers who are battling addiction and molly has essentially taken over my practice in the past few months. And many of the teens I work with take their dealer at their word when they are told that they are buying 'pure' MDMA.

Blame Madonna. Blame Miley. Blame whoever you want, but this one hundred-year-old drug is more popular now than it ever has been.

Ask any avid drug user the difference between 'molly' and 'ecstasy' and they will most likely tell you that 'molly is pure MDMA' and ecstasy was more known to be cut with other substances. In reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. And herein lies the problem.

Unless you are an accomplished chemist, 'pure' MDMA is a myth. Pure MDMA costs a lot of money and drug dealers are not in the business of losing money. On the other hand, meth is quite cheap, which is why it is one of the most common drugs found in molly.

"There's no good batch of molly, MDMA, or have no idea what's in this stuff. Dealers want to make more money, so they'll mix and adulterate the stuff with meth and any number of other drugs," according to Anthony Pettigrew, a spokesman for the New England division of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Ask your average teenager if they would ever do meth and they will likely be shocked and appalled at the suggestion. But ask them about molly and you get a whole different answer. Even though many times they are the exact same thing.

We have a huge battle ahead of us and the first step is to end the myth about molly. It is not pure MDMA. It is not pure anything.

It is a potentially lethal cocktail of lab chemicals and household chemicals and every single trip is a dangerous game of Russian Roulette.

I'm sure many parents have already learned that telling your kids that drugs are bad doesn't always work. But what can work, is harm reduction.

I work on a principle of harm reduction with the students I see. Largely, because that's the only choice I have. Many teens who are involved in the drug scene are in what addiction professionals call the pre-contemplation stage. For people in this stage, quitting drugs completely isn't really on the table, at least in the near future. They may even not view their use as a problem.

But what I've noticed in my work with youth is that even those in the pre-contemplation stage are still extremely willing to receive open-minded, non-judgmental education regarding some of the risk factors.

And the main risk factor right now is that Molly isn't as innocent as she sounds.


27 Reasons Why U.S. Shouldn't Lead War On Drugs