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September 3, 2013

CDC warns against the 'Molly' drug

The Boston Herald

BOSTON — As the East Coast grapples with a terrifying rash of deadly party drug overdoses, the federal Centers for Disease Control is urging hospitals around the country to start stocking up on the overdose-reversing drug Narcan amid a startling spike in deaths from another designer drug.

“Because of the increased potency of acetyl fentanyl, larger doses of naloxone might be needed to achieve reversal,” the CDC reports in its latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “Health-care providers who administer naloxone in emergencies might consider increasing the amount they keep on hand.”

Acetyl fentanyl, a relative newcomer in the designer drug world, is a synthetic painkiller believed to be five times more potent than heroin. The white, snortable powder is tied to 14 fatal overdoses in Rhode Island this spring, and the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs says it caused 50 fatal overdoses so far this year.

The CDC warning on acetyl fentanyl comes as officials in Boston and New York City seek the causes of three fatal overdoses in the past week.

Last Wednesday morning, a New Hampshire teen died and two others were hospitalized from what police called apparent drug overdoses at Boston’s House of Blues.

Boston police are looking into the possibility that the overdoses may be linked to the white powder known as “molly,” which delivers a potent punch of MDMA, an ingredient typically found in the party drug Ecstasy.

On Saturday, at a Sound Tribe Sector 9 show at the Bank of America Pavilion, three men were rushed to Boston Medical Center. State police told the Herald two of the men appeared to have overdosed on a “molly-type” drug, while the third may have overdosed on a hallucinogen.

Police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandaca said last night all the hospitalized youths have been released.

Meanwhile in New York, the massive Electric Zoo festival was shuttered after two attendees died and at least four others were hospitalized. Both deaths appear to have involved MDMA, officials said.

It generally takes two weeks to complete a toxicology report.

Bay State lawmakers and law enforcement yesterday vowed to target club drugs in the wake of the sudden, mysterious spate of ODs.

“It’s scary,” said Dorchester state Rep. Martin J. Walsh. “The police can do what they can to try to figure out what’s going on here, but there are people pushing this in the same place, two nights in a row, there’s a bad batch or something going on.”

Attorney General Martha Coakley said law enforcement will be ramping up its crackdown on the drug.

“It’s clearly something that I think the police and the district attorneys will get engaged in to make sure people are safe and the people who are putting those drugs into the community will be held accountable,” she said. “We haven’t seen a huge problem for a long time like this week since the raves of 10, 15 years ago.”

“To be honest, I didn’t know what molly was until Miley Cyrus mentioned it I think a week ago,” said City Councilor Matt O’Malley. “We need to get into our colleges and the young 20-somethings, in terms of a public awareness campaign so they know what the risks are.”

Copyright 2013 The Boston Herald

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

All Rights Reserved


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