Research Analyst at the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), Uki Atkinson, is warning that the continued use of Molly could increase the risk of unsafe sex and health challenges.
In fact, Atkinson shared that students are of the view that Molly can be used, especially by women, to get them in the mood for sexual activity.
A Rapid Situational Assessment on Drug Use in secondary schools conducted in May, has found that Molly is emerging as one of the most popular drugs being used by teenagers locally.
Speaking at a press conference to present the findings of the assessment, Atkinson said the island did not have a “pill-popping culture” or a drug injection culture.
However, she said “things are changing”, and the NCDA and other agencies must implement the necessary prevention control measures that are necessary.
Molly acts on three main neurotransmitters, which are serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, according to the research analyst.
“These things control things like mood and aggression, sexual activity, our sleep, feelings of pain, blood pressure, heart rate, emotions, and motivation,” Atkinson outlined.
“In the short term, it can increase our heart rate, increase our blood pressure, cause muscle tension, teeth clenching, nausea, higher body temperature, and most importantly, increase the risk for unsafe sex,” she added.
The research analyst shared that Molly has been trending in the Dancehall sphere, especially at parties, and persons have been calling for its issuance at parties to desist.
She said anecdotally, persons have indicated that Molly has been mixed with alcohol and ganja at parties.
Atkinson said from the assessment and focus groups, students were able to describe what the pills looked like, how it was crushed and placed into alcohol, and the influence music had on its use, among other things.
“Students spoke about pills costing as low as $300 and as high as $2,500. What does this suggest? Internationally, it is known that Molly has a high potential for mixing with other drugs,” Atkinson explained.
“Another thing that came up is that it is felt to be a drug that is useful for sexual activity.
“What some students said is that when some women use the Molly they get on freaky, and Molly is for women and ecstasy is for men,” she said.
However, Atkinson said it is clear from those accounts that students do not have an idea of what Molly is, because “Molly and Ecstasy are the same thing.”
She said that some students also have expressed the view that the risk levels associated with using Molly are low.
“In other words, they think it is just a feel good, fun drug, and the fact that it can have serious impact on their health is not wildely known,” the research analyst shared, adding that the report for the rapid assessment details more from the students’ perspectives.
Though alcohol is not as popular anymore, Atkinson noted that it is still being used by some students in creative ways by soaking gummy bears in it and rebranding it as ‘Rummy Bears’.
The assessment also revealed that guidance councillors pointed out that students were struggling with issues relative to suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety.