I no longer recreationally hula-hoop, a fact usually irrelevant to every single conversation that I have in a given day and exactly the reason that I never, ever want to do Ecstasy.
Yes, despite deciding that drugs are universally a “pretty bad call” decades ago, MDMA usage has skyrocketed among college-aged kids in recent years. According to a 2011 study by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, MDMA-related ER visits climbed 124 percent from 2004 to 2009, coinciding with the time that dance music ham-fisted its way onto the mainstream pop charts via acts like Ke$ha and the Black Eyed Peas in the late-2000s, and possibly also due to the perpetual stupidity of young people everywhere. I’m also still not positive that it’s not part of the greater 90’s fashion revival that we’re seeing in 2013, but I digress. Music acts are referencing MDMA across the board, from underground rappers Danny Brown and Trinidad James, to mainstream acts like Justin Timberlake, meaning the drug is certainly not going away anytime soon.
As such, I now find myself surrounded by kids “rolling on Molly” on a near-weekly basis, which is a sentence I was pretty sure I wouldn’t ever utter in my lifetime. Despite never actively seeking out parties and events that prominently feature rave staples like bodypaint and ambulances, it’s nearly impossible to avoid kids on E if you spend any length of time socializing at a medium-to-large size college nowadays. It’s like walking into a Panera Bread hoping you won’t see a woman holding a Lhasa Apso, only if said Lhasa Apso loved ring pops and kept smacking your girlfriend in the face with a glowstick.
Kids on Molly are everywhere, despite the fact that I cannot think of a single stupider way to spend a Saturday evening.
There is quite literally no bigger deterrent to me doing a particular drug if the people offering me said drug were constantly skipping rope under a black light and wearing Hello Kitty memorabilia, which Molly users always are for some inexplicable reason. If you found someone on the street that was sucking a pacifier and gyrating to a trance song that featured Keanu Reeves saying “Dude!” for seven straight minutes, and he offered you drugs, wouldn’t you rightfully sprint until you found the nearest police officer or constable available? Why is this somehow cool in a club setting?
Even more mind-blowing is the fact that kids are literally risking their lives for this experience each weekend, a fact that should truly make you consider celibacy. MDMA tablets are often laced with far more sinister drugs like ketamine and heroin, and even if they aren’t, MDMA can dehydrate you to the point of death anyhow. So let’s recap: if your trip goes well, you really like neon colors for two hours and Skrillex is somewhat bearable. If it goes poorly, you die. Aren’t those the single worst gambling tradeoffs in human history?
We can also thank Molly for the entire genre of dubstep, further adding to the incredibly arbitrary list of magic powers that come with gobbling MDMA tablets. At its absolute best, American dubstep still sounds like two competing Jiffy Lube stations fighting for Xzbit’s favor on an unaired episode of “Pimp My Ride.” And I otherwise love electronic music. You know how everyone involved with the 80’s hair metal boom later apologized for the glaciers of cocaine they were snorting the entire time? There seem to be some parallels here. Entire crowds of kids on Molly have turned Skrillex into our generation’s Whitesnake, to absolutely nobody’s benefit.
The American media absolutely loves putting a stamp on the zeitgeist of each passing generation, be it political unrest or the invention of Rock and Roll. While I’m obviously not advocating any other type of illicit drug use, college-aged kids used to bear at least a passing obsession with “elevating” their conscious minds and gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and the world that they live in. Have we abandoned our search for greater knowledge in order to seek greater dance moves? Only time will tell. Until then, I’ll dance when I’m good and ready.
Jerry Iannelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jerryiannelli.