Ideally, a recreational drug shouldn’t make your flesh fall off your bones. Nor should it cause you to overheat and drop dead onto the dance floor. But we don’t live in a perfect world, now, do we?
Having come of age during the drug-soaked 1970s, I learned to cast a cynical eye toward drug-hysteria propaganda, especially since the hype rarely jibed with my personal experiences. As someone who’s probably smoked a minimum of 40 bales of marijuana, I stand here today to declare that films such as Reefer Madness severely exaggerate the deleterious effects of cannabis. As someone who was taught as a child that LSD causes you to freak out, rip your genitals off your body, and leap from a window to your death, my experience was that acid wasn’t nearly as dangerous as the four drunk guys who pick you up while you’re hitchhiking on acid. Even crack, meth, and PCP failed to live up to the tantalizing horror stories that led me to sample them in the first place. Ketamine, well, yeah, that was terrifying. Worst experience of my life. Believe whatever negative hype you hear about that one.
Still, I’m not sure whether street drugs are getting scarier or I’m just getting more easily scared. I always used to enjoy a ripping good national drug panic, and I almost always wound up trying the newly demonized drug as a result. But things such as age, fatherhood, a slowly evolving yet still highly delicate wisdom, and nine-hour brain surgery have caused me to ease up on the psychonautical recklessness. Hate to disappoint anyone, but I will not be wrestling with Krokodil or dancing with Molly.
The Web was ablaze last week with scare stories about a spate of young clubbers’ deaths from Molly overdoses. Far more ominous was the announcement that Krokodil, the repulsive, deadly, flesh-eating home-cooked opioid that first came yawning out of Siberia’s frozen womb a decade or so ago, has possibly reached America’s shores.
The term “Molly” is said to be derived from “molecule” or “molecular,” seeing as the drug is touted as chemically pure MDMA, the active ingredient in Ecstasy. The fact that “Molly” is also a feminine pronoun leads to unforgivably dorky editorial copy such as “Molly is not someone you want for a friend,” “That’s when Molly made her way onto the scene,” and “There is a new girl in town–and she can kill.”
Molly is thought to have killed at least four college students—one in Boston, two in New York, and one in DC—over a two-week span that ended in early September. The fact that the victims all seemed to be fans of electronic dance music should not be held against them.
One of the two New York victims died from pure MDMA. The other died from a mixture of MDMA and the stimulant methylone. In some cases, the reputedly “pure” MDMA in Molly capsules is even cut with adulterants such as crystal meth, rat poison, and baby powder.
Adverse effects even from pure, untainted MDMA can include fatal heart attacks, strokes, and seizures, and liver or kidney failure due to dehydration. Nevertheless, its glories have been touted by such chart-topping pop-music stalwarts as Rick Ross, Kanye West, and Miley “I Vow to Do Everything Within My Power to Humiliate My Father” Cyrus.
Some suggest the recent spate of Molly-related deaths, confined as it was to the Northeast, may simply be the result of a single bad batch. Thousands of earnest young electro-boppers have been using MDMA and its variants for decades now without adverse effects.
In contrast, Krokodil seems to kill nearly everyone who touches it. It is perhaps the most nihilistic drug ever devised.
One explanation for the etymology of “Krokodil” (Russian for “crocodile”) is that users wind up with green, scaly abscesses on their skin. Another is the fact that the compound chlorocodide is produced during the cooking process. What is not disputed is the fact that like a crocodile, this drug can literally eat you.
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