Nightly News   |  September 01, 2013

Old drug, new name, deadly consequences: Meet Molly

The popular 1990s club drug ecstasy has reinvented itself and is again popular. Pop music has popularized the new variety, called Molly, and the drug is linked to three recent overdose deaths at concerts. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

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>>> week at concerts, all suspected overdoses, are putting a recreational drug known as moll lakers form of the drug ecstasy, under new scrutiny. nbc's ron mott is here tonight. ron, this is not a new drug?

>> reporter: not at all. in fact, it was the '70s and '80s this drug took off recreationally and exploded in the '90s with a new name, ecstasy. now this refined variety, molly , has only heightened the high and the dangers. its nickname is molly and it's all the rage at techno and electronica concerts. the heavy beat of the music, mixed with this adrenaline-pumping drug, has an intoxicating alure for some young partygoers and college students, authorities say with us, deadly results.

>> a lot of it is related to their inexperience, their misinformation, and the fact that, you know, not quite sure exactly what they are getting.

>> reporter: officials of new york city 's popular music fest canceled sunday's final show after two attendees in their early 20s died. four brothers hospitalized in intensive care. just last week in boston, a 19-year-old college student died of a suspected overdose while attending her first concert.

>> she was such a great kid.

>> sad, very sad.

>> reporter: this summer, a man died and dozens more treated for overdosing on molly at a music fest in washington state . molly is short for molecule and is the powder version of mdma, commonly known as ecstasy in what is believed its purest form. it is known to produce feelings of eufor rah ya and anxiety.

>> the early signs of intoxication are going to be high heart rate you high respiratory rate and high blood pressure so, if you're in a club scene , you're not feeling any of that.

>> how many people in this crowd have seen molly ?

>> reporter: madonna was criticized last year after a show in miami.

>> i think i was being ironic, because there were posters everywhere, saying if you've seen molly , call this number.

>> reporter: kanye west , among others, have rapped about it. in new york today, would-be concertgoers spoke out about the drug.

>> the same thing as the festival, because of the way the drug makes you feel. feel the music more.

>> pretty popular, nowadays. molly , you take it and it makes you feel the music better, like it makes you all happy.

>> reporter: a drug with an innocent-sounding name causing alarm on the concert party scene. according to the u.s. department of health and human services , molly -related emergency room visits skyrocketed from 2004 to 2009 , carl, 123% increase.