I find myself thinking back to a conversation years ago where a guy I'd met who had been raving since the late 80's explained to me that "the popularity of the rave-scene moves in cycles": its biggest peaks were for a few years in the late 90's to early 2000's, and then, in 2008, when we were talking. I doubt that even he could have anticipated the mainstream popularity still to come. Even though I caught the tag-end of the Los Angeles underground rave-scene actually being a "scene" back in 2006-7, I try my hardest not to condescend the kids into EDM (electronic dance music) parties now like I'm a "veteran," atop them in some sort of hierarchy. In fact, save the occasional wave of nostalgia, I'm entirely fine focusing on other things in life that have nothing to do with raving. With the scene so removed from my daily concerns, I haven't really cared to comment on the whole "molly" craze of the past few years, until now.
Back in my day (yes, "back in my day"), ecstasy was a sort of mystery pill. Sure, people hoped they contained the "pure mdma" or "pure mdma plus some exotic hallucinogen and/or opium" that their shady dealer "FluffyCuddles" promised them, but unfortunately, all but the few expert addicts able to sense a drug with a mere touch of their tongue-tip, were unaware of the meth that their pill/s most-likely contained until they were already chewing through their candy bracelets with mutant fervor. The cynical fact was, FluffyCuddles would gladly sell anthrax as ecstasy if he could get away with it.
Anyone remotely in "the know" during my days of raving was long clued into the fact that methy pills were standard fare. When one summoned the self-respect to refuse the ingestion of such an atrocious substance, but still felt like flooding their serotonin receptors like Hurricane Katrina, they would go for molly. Being that molly is simply white powder, there was of course, just as much chance for it to be "bunk," but since it was always a rare and valued commodity at the party, doing so could damage a drug dealer's reputation severely, so it typically came as advertised.
Enter present day: EDM music and massive events like the Electric Daisy Carnival are bigger than ever, Madonna names her album "mdna" and in a pathetic last-ditch attempt to remain relevant, asks her live crowds to cheer if "they've seen Molly," and Miley Cyrus and every rapper in the world abuse the term as their personal marketing slang. Presto, "Molly" is the new "it-drug." Now, applying what we've learned thus far, logic tells us that "it + drug = cut with meth," and according to Frank Owens' article for November's Playboy, recent lab tests of capsules acquired at a Miami night club (a type of establishment that, by nature, reflects only the most mainstream of trends) show that this is exactly the case.
As far as what it means for the future of mdma, I can't claim to be sure. First of all, it's not the end of the world for drug users. Pure mdma can still be found if one knows the right people, and to be frank, while a few mdma experiences can be cathartic and beneficial, someone who relegates their experiences of joy to time spent intoxicated has a whole new world of clarity to look forward to, should they tire of power-juicing their brain for its happy-chemicals. On a wider level, the sudden popularity of Molly in culture could go one of a few ways. With its current level of lip-service, it is prompting the typical "hide your kids" news stories, and "crackdown" attempts from square republicans who still think pot makes people gay. A darker age is always possible.
However, the attention also shines light on the research being performed across the globe by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), which includes studies where veteran soldiers with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) are administered doses of pure mdma to assist in their therapy, with promising results being shown. This is the type of focus that was put on mdma back when it was obscure in the 80's, and the approach initially taken with lsd prior to the hippie movement. It's great to see it resurfacing, and with an impressive amount of government approval. I hope it continues, and I have a good feeling it will. Trends and advertising campaigns change by the day, but science, ideally, is rooted in a reality that stands the test of time.