Healthline: Meet Molly

"Molly" caused 22,000 emergency room visits nationwide in 2011, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network.  It's the latest dangerous drug trend, and it's been blamed for the death of two concertgoers in New York.

The name rings like a fun-loving, popular girl.  She's spotted at concerts and festivals, and she's featured in the biggest summer anthems.  But Molly is far from innocent.

"This is similar to what was happening 20 years ago with ecstasy," said counselor Arlene Magee.

Molly is the so-called "pure form" of ecstasy or MDMA.  It usually comes in a powder or crystal form.  Taken orally, the drug floods the brain with a chemical cocktail, creating a sense of euphoria and hypersensitivity.  But that rush can come with deadly consequences.

"Increase in the heart rate, increase in the blood pressure which may eventually lead to heart damage. It may also lead to problems with confusion, dizziness, fainting, seizures," said Dr. Karen Simpson.

"There's this concept that it is pure and that it's safe - which isn't actually correct," said Magee.

Users can easily overdose, causing dehydration, vomiting and a spike in body temperature, which can lead to organ damage or death.  Then there are the long-term effects.

"Problems with depression, anxiety, paranoia to the point that it is similar to schizophrenia," said Dr. Simpson.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Molly is popular among teens and young adults as the go-to party drug.  While Molly isn't often the primary choice among addicts, the executive director of St. Christopher's Addiction Wellness Center says it is often used with other, harder illicit drugs.

"Sitting across the street are 25 young men and 21 of those have tried Molly, so I think that tells you where it's headed. So yes, I think it's a concern that it will head here," said Magee.

Fortunately, local law enforcement agencies say the Molly trend is slow to reach Baton Rouge.  For example, since January, LSU Campus Police have had 68 cases dealing with narcotics.  Of those, only one dealt with Molly.  Baton Rouge Police and the EBR Sheriff's Office reported similar statistics.

"The majority of what we deal with are instances with marijuana, as well as prescription drugs," said Cory Lalonde with LSU Police.

However, all law enforcement agencies are keeping a diligent eye on current drug trends, noting that every drug is a concern.

"Some of these substances are very very dangerous, and I don't think that a lot of young people who do experiment or even someone who uses them on a regular basis, I don't think they necessarily know all the risks," said Lalonde.

Experts say to look for warning signs that your child may be using drugs like Molly.  Signs include a change in attitude, friend, a lack of interest in hobbies or school, and changes in health.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.