by Terry Gotham
Continuing the series on “things your dealer cuts your drugs with,” this week I’m talking about Methylone. We’re a couple of years out from peak Methylone (circa 2012), but it’s still popping up in MDMA & Molly across the US, the UK & Australia/NZ. We live in the digital age now, so instead of people being busted for selling it in the club, we’ve got dealers getting pinched for buying it online. Including one who was indicted for murder because a kid died after taking it.
I wanted to use it as a quick case study on how little recreational drug users care about scheduling & legality. There are enough years of data on Methylone vs. MDMA to get a sense of the last couple of years & Stay Safe Seattle has done some anecdotal research which provides a neat explanation of what’s been going on. For more formal information on Methylone, check out this doc by the UNODC (United Nations Office On Drugs & Crime).
The ravers, burners or club kids who have consistently rolled since the economic crash of 2008, you may remember the MDMA shortages that plagued the first term of Obama’s presidency. Because of the lack of viable sources for many people, dealers began cutting their MDMA with Methylone & other legal highs.
Cutting pressed pills or baggies of “Molly” isn’t anything new. But instead of cutting them with Stacker 2, Dexetrim, pseudoephedrine & other grey market stimulants, dealers began adding “legal highs” to the stuff to ensure people still had an oxytocin-filled good time.
This stuff was legal for years, but it definitely isn’t harmless. It’s been implicated in the deaths of a number of people, notably three young people in Florida back in 2012. Remember those two kids who died at Electric Zoo in 2013? One of them had taken Methylone instead of MDMA. Granted, the dehydration/heatstroke was the exacerbating factor in their deaths, but let’s be real about the fact that they probably didn’t know what they were getting.
Of course, there are a subset of recreational drug users who enjoy Methylone & would prefer to take it, even if they had access to MDMA. Unlike other legal highs, Methylone has developed a following across the Western world. The shorter duration, the lack of cardiovascular stimulation, reported empathogenic effects and dose control are preferred to the dice some roll when it come to pills (That pun was awful). Though, when purity of MDMA tablets rose & it was more easily found in a lot of areas, rates of Methylone consumption plummeted, as the graph above illustrates.
At the end of the day, I want to emphasize (like I always do), that the problem is that people don’t have access to the drug that provide the experiences they want to have. When they can’t get what they want, they’ll start looking for a proxy substance that can provide a similar, if not exact array of symptoms. Of course, there are plenty of people who took the drug, found out they liked it, and were able to correctly disentangle the MDMA experience from the Methylone experience. But that takes time, effort, access to vaguely pure substances and honest dealers. If you’re showing up at a party and you’ve never taken either of these before, you won’t be able to tell the difference, as you have no point of reference.
The drug war forces people to make these choices, simply because they can’t get what they want. Instead of requiring humans to play street chemist & behaviorist, let people do what they want. Legalize, regulate, require branding to disclose ingredients & allow users to discuss effects with their doctor. As opposed to Lupo their street pharmacist telling them how dope the new Molly is & how it’ll have them hugging their friends and grinding their teeth by the time that new Axwell & Ingrosso track hits the deck.
I’ll leave you with this quote from a Playboy in 2013 that documented just how bad it had gotten in Miami:
“According to the Miami Police Department, methylone and mephedrone, along with another synthetic cathinone called 4-MEC, account for the vast bulk of the molly seized by narcotics cops in the area. A DEA spokesperson told me that in the first six months of 2013, the DEA’s Miami field office seized 106 consignments of molly, which contained 43 different substances, 19 of them so obscure even government chemists couldn’t identify them. So much for purity.”
Test your shit folks. Know your source, know your set/setting & do your research before setting off on a new adventure. Tally ho into the wilderness, but we want y’all to come back safe & sound with stars in your eyes. To talk more about this, join me, Ravelrie, NY DanceSafe & Stay Safe Seattle on Twitter at 1:30p PST using the hashtag #M1FF on Friday, Sept. 18th.