TL neuro

September 4, 2013

Assessing “Molly”

Filed under: Cathinones, MDMA, Methylone — mtaffe @ 9:57 am

I just got off the phone with a producer of a public radio program that wanted to do a small bit on “molly” tomorrow. With luck I’ll be on around 10:40 Eastern. The conversation, however, dipped heavily into the fact that when the media reports that a user might have taken “molly” we really do not know what drug has been experience.

So I turned to ecstasydata.org and searched for “molly” which generally turned up things with this in the Tablet Name field. I’ll assume this is a good enough proxy for the drug entity in question as having been marketed, or represented to the user, as “Molly”.

There were 80 entries listed from 4/1/2000 to 8/20/2013. One from 2000 (which contained DXM), one from 2007, two each from 2008 and 2009, 6 from 2010, 17 from 2011, 33 from 2012 and 17 from 2013 up to this point in the year.

I did a quick scan and headcount of the active substances identified. Forty one of them contained MDMA, by far the plurality. There were 12 that contained methylone (aka bk-MDMA, the cathinone cousin of MDMA) and 7 that contained methamphetamine. Many of the MDMA ones came in combination with other compounds including caffeine and methamphetamine. There was the usual (for the tablets-represented-as-Ecstasy) smattering of other suspects such as PMMA, BZP, MDA. Additional cathinones also appeared, such as ethylone, 4-MEC and ethcathinone.

The first appearance of a cathinone was methylone in a sample analyzed in October of 2011. Six of the samples analyzed in 2013 are methylone (only) and two more were single-compound cathinones (ethylone, 4-MEC).

These data can only reflect what has been submitted to the harm reduction organization by users. It is certainly the case that there is a selection bias and so viewing this as representative of the whole drug market is a problem. It appears likely that users would submit samples that seem suspicious to them preferentially. This may increase the appearance of substitutions and combinations over the pure MDMA that users are seeking as Molly. There is the obvious bias for samples from users that even know about ecstasydata.org and are motivated enough to submit a sample…one might read this as a slightly more educated/interested/devoted population of users. And it is impossible to determine relative marketshare of the drug samples that are submitted- it may reflect a large supply available in a given region or a more exclusive supply that an isolated user population has access to.

In a word, there are caveats.

Nevertheless, over the years the Ecstasydata.org information on drug preparations represented as Ecstasy has accorded very well with the data from things analyzed from law enforcement seizure and from other countries. Consequently this enhances confidence that these initial results are giving us a general picture of the psychoactive drug content of items being sold as Molly.

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