Straight Talk Advice

Anatomy of the High School Party Scene

Oct 21, 2014

Popular party drug, Molly, sold as “pure” MDMA, often contains none

Dear Straight Talk: My daughter, 17, and her friends are getting ready for the big Halloween party, swapping clothes and creating costumes. My problem isn't the costumes being too racy as I've read about in Straight Talk (though this could become an issue). The problem is the party. It's at a household where the single father is often absentee. When I expressed doubts, my daughter furiously informed me that ALL parties are where parents are gone. And do I want her to have NO social life? My daughter is pretty responsible. What's the typical party scene? Are parents usually absent? Are there usually drugs and alcohol? —Mom in Vacaville, Calif.

Alira 17, Novato, Calif. Ask me a question

Last night, my friends and I went to a party assuming parents would be home and there'd be simple socializing. Well, I was surrounded by people I've never met and substances I've never seen. The more people came, the more drugs and alcohol showed up. It was super uncomfortable. We left early, completely sober and glad to be leaving. My small school has really fun parties with dancing, swimming, cake, laughing and no substances whatsoever. It's sad last night's party is the norm and teens can't have fun unless under the influence.

Collin 17, San Diego, Calif. Ask me a question

If your daughter makes good decisions, let her go. In my experience, high school parties rarely involve anything you can't avoid using common sense. The ones I've been to involved eating, talking, eating, maybe dancing and some couples making out. No drugs or alcohol. Food and socializing is enough to drive the party. She's near 18, some real-world practice is good.

Breele 20, Dana Point, Calif. Ask me a question

Best assumption: No supervision. Sure, there are some innocent parties, but most have alcohol, weed, and sometimes cocaine, Ecstasy, Molly [so-called pure MDMA, but everything but], and roofies [date-rape drugs]. Fortunately, I was either unaware, uninterested, or lucky. Even as a “good kid”, your daughter might drink, inhale, throw up, pass out, who knows? The longer kids avoid the party scene the better, but around 17, kids are harder to sit on. Explain the dangers of cocaine, E, and Molly (she will hear the glories)— and tell her to call you if needed!! Regarding costumes, tell them the “hoe” look is never a good look, even at Halloween.

Maddie 15, Cotati, Calif. Ask me a question

Sometimes parents are home, sometimes not. Yes, most parties involve alcohol and drugs — but not everyone participates. I say trust her. Not going won't stop her from trying stuff.

Ryann 17, Tustin, Calif. Ask me a question

Parties with parents either absent or abetting illegal activities are very prevalent. I'm not a partier, but my brother, a very-social sophomore, wants to attend one. My parents made a reasonable decision. They stressed three things: 1) their trust in him to make good decisions under intense peer pressure; 2) that broken trust wouldn't be earned back easily; 3) if he did break their trust, he was to call them for a ride because they acknowledge he will make mistakes and nothing could make them love him any less, they just want him safe.

Dear Mom: At 17, you want to prevent drug and alcohol use, not social life. Tell her that. (BTW: Most kids WON'T call you when intoxicated. We've covered it.) Make this deal: She can go to the party under these conditions: 1) She leaves with a fully-charged phone. 2) She provides exact address of the party. 3) When you call (and you DO), she must answer and speak for a bit. No texting. 4) If she doesn't get on the line with you, or she sounds irritable or intoxicated, deal's off, you show up, consequences are given — regardless of her excuse. Ditto if she's not there.

Editor's Note:

Molly and Ecstasy — Not your parent's MDMA.

High-finance branding story: MDMA was nicknamed E or Ecstasy, until so much of the Ecstasy was found to have very little or no MDMA in it. So the drug syndicates assigned the name "Molly" to indicate pure MDMA. The new brand is wildly successful. Teens and young adults are taking it like raving idiots at a, well, rave — or even just a party. But wait, news flash: Molly often contains zero MDMA! Our kids are being lied to and experimented on like labs rats in a multibillion dollar for-profit drug business that doesn't give a rat's ass about the lab rats.

The DEA says only 13 percent of the Molly seized in New York state over the last four years contained any MDMA, and when they did find MDMA, it was always mixed with other drugs. Molly appears to be a pretty random mixture of synthetic chemicals and officials find completely different ingredients in the same batches of Molly sold. The problem is, drug enforcement is always a step behind the money-making machine. They identify a synthetic chemical and make it illegal, and the illegal drug industry just makes a new one (think quickly-mutating viruses), so nobody even knows what these drugs are and what they do. Our kids do the testing. 

Where's Molly? Frothing at the mouth and dilating in pupils near you in the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The fastest emerging drug problem is from synthetic drugs for the Gen Y and Z rave, dance and party scene and it's growing at a breakneck pace along with the synthetic music to take the drugs to (live music not acceptable). Here's a 2014 example of a hot rave track. The music also goes by the names electronica, dub step, house, deep house, and EDM, which stands for, ready for this: electronic dance music. Hear stuff your kid likes? He/she is probably exposed to Molly and E. 

Warning signs of E or Molly use:
Dilated pupils see #5
Foaming at the mouth see #6
• Blurred vision
• Rapid eye movement
• Jaw clenching
• Sweating
• Sudden loss of appetite
• High and low temperatures
• Violent or bizarre behavior
• Psychosis
• Death
• Depression such as sadness (after coming off)
• Unable to get out of bed for an extended period (after coming off)

Some parents may remember MDMA, which was invented in Germany, as a depression cure. It came on the scene, mostly among psychologists, in the early 1980's and I remember it being used and experimented with by famous and important people, even touted as a possible world-peace drug because it made everyone loving, compassionate and grateful. Penicillin for the soul. Well, your kid isn't taking MDMA at their dance party. Today's so-called pure MDMA is a lie. I've had kids describe Molly, it's clearly not MDMA, and it's much more addicting (meth is one of the ingredients they find in Molly). Bottom line: nobody knows what's in the Molly they're taking. From tests, it seems to be whatever synthetic drugs got swept into a pile that day. —Lauren

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  1. By Sandra, age 43, from Lodi, CA on 10/23/2014

    My teenage daughters are invited to a Halloween party at a friend’s house.  Her mother will be there.  The problem is that she has announced that she will allow “drinking in moderation.”  She has the philosophy that “they’re going to drink anyway, and it is much better for it to be in a controlled environment where she can make sure that things do not get out of hand.”  She says that she will make sure that there will be designated drivers to drive home everyone who drinks and that she will personally drive home anyone who does not have a ride home.  Even so, I am appalled, and I am not going to allow my daughers who are 17 and 16 to attend.  They are furious and say that all of their friends are being allowed to go, and they don’t want to have to stay home alone in their room.  They have even promised that they will not drink if that is my concern.  However, I still do not want them to attend such an event at their ages, and despite their promise which I believe is sincere at this time, they still would likely be under peer pressure to drink.  I am aware that what this mother is doing is illegal by supplying alcohol to underage teenagers.  I am tempted to report this to the police, but am afraid that this would really cause my daughters to ostracized, and maybe it’s none of my business if my daughters are not attending.

    Do you think I’m unreasonable to forbid my daughters to attend?  Should I report this or just mind my own business?


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    1. By LAUREN, from on 10/23/2014

      Sandra—Not unreasonable at all! Your daughters revealed the situation and you are acting totally responsible to say no. I have way less tolerance for parent-sanctioned drinking parties than I do for the ones where no parents are home. Not that I like either one, but when parents sanction the drinking, it’s another level of saying, “Hey kiddies, substance use is legitimate. Don’t you worry what the law or medical science says about the developing brain and addictions, that’s all b.s., be cool, like me” (insert woefully-misguided, probably substance-addicted adult). At least with teens partying on their own, they KNOW what they’re doing is wrong and bad for them.

      So, do you report it? I would. If you know about this party, so do a lot of other parents. It could be ANYONE who calls it in. It could be the neighbor’s Chihuahua for pete’s sake! Now, since you don’t want your daughters ostracized, I wouldn’t TELL anyone you busted it, just bust it anonymously and perfectly shut up about it. Now, if you’re more the compassionate type, and this might be me, I’d write an anonymous letter to the mom, and give her fair warning. “You throw this party and I’m going to report it.” Signed, Any Parent

      Guess what? The party will be cancelled and that will be the best outcome of all. And if this parent is still dense enough to throw it, you won’t even have to feel guilty about reporting it.

      Regarding my steps 1-4, those are for when you can’t keep them in their room forever and you need a strategy so they can go out in the world.  It can be used no matter where they are going (a lot of drinking/drug use goes on at small get-togethers that might not even be called “parties”). But, it’s ALWAYS okay to say no. Trust your gut.—Love, Lauren

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  2. By J.H., age 19, from Irvine, CA on 10/23/2014

    My roommate got totally wasted at a party in our dorm on what she was told was Molly, but who knows for sure exactly what it was?  Whatever it was it was BAD!  Somebody brought her back to our room as she couldn’t find the way herself, and literally dumped her on me.  She fell on the floor before she could even make it to her bed.  She was totally incoherent but was able to say that she needed to get to the bathroom right away but didn’t even know how to get there.  I had to practically carry her down the hall to the bathroom and literally had to pull her pants down for her and put her on the toilet and take her off and bring her back to our room.  I then had to undress her and put her in bed as she was totally incapable of doing it herself.  The next day she was totally out of it most of the day and finally started to come around in the evening.  She couldn’t even remember what happened and didn’t know how she even got back to our room, but vaguely remembered someone talking her into taking what they called “Molly.”  It took 2 more days for her to really back to normal.  She learned her lesson and will never do anything like this again, and neither will I after seeing what this did to her!


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    1. By LAUREN, from on 10/23/2014

      J.H.—I’ve heard of others konked out like this attributed to Molly. Apparently, you don’t know what you’re getting with Molly… only that it’s NOT MDMA. One girl threw up orange froth. It makes me so sick… you guys are just expendable to the drug industry. They do not care about you.

      Glad you’re swearing off Molly, but watch your drinks or water, roofies will make you this sick, too, and they’re made of weird stuff, too, like drain cleaner. Glad she’s okay… in the future would make sense to take someone clearly drugged on something unknown to student health so they can induce vomiting. People die from this stuff.  Thanks for sharing.—Love, Lauren

      Reply to this comment

      1. By Steve, age 17, from Santa Ana, CA on 10/24/2014

        My sister got totally wasted in a similar way when she took what she was told was “Molly” at a party.  Our mom was out late with her boyfriend and wasn’t home, so I had no choice but to deal with it.  Like the others say, she was so wasted she couldn’t even use the bathroom or undress without help which was very uncomfortable and embarrassing as a guy, but I really had no choice.  Unlike some I’ve read about, we don’t have to share a room and hadn’t seen each other undressed since long before puberty.  I only undressed her down to her thong, but that was bad enough but having to take her to the toilet was much worse, but what was I going to do unless I was going to let her soil herself?  The next day she was very embarrassed about what happened and apologized and promised it would never happen again.

        I think it’s incredibly stupid to take something like this when you don’t even know what you’re taking and what effect it will have on you.  I would never do so and I’m confident that my sister never will again either.


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    2. By N.C., age 18, from Fullerton, CA on 10/25/2014

      This has also been happening in my dorm.  I don’t even go to parties any more because of this as too many people are getting wasted like this.  I can’t believe that intelligent college students would put themselves at risk by taking drugs when they don’t really even know what is in them, but many do.  Fortunately, my roommate is like I am and doesn’t not participate in activities like this either, but many on our hall do.  Last weekend a girl who lives 2 doors down from us was wandering around the hall nude and totally out of it.  I had to take her back to her room and put her in bed as her roommate wasn’t there.  Fortunately, no guys happened to come by and see her, but it was during the hours that guys are allowed to visit girls on our hall and it very well could have happened.

      These parties are open knowledge, so I can’t believe that the dorm administrators don’t know about them but they are doing nothing to stop this. 


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    3. By Maggie, age 19, from Rohnert Park, CA on 10/26/2014

      I’m ashamed to say that this also happened to me when someone got me to take what they called “Molly” at a party in our dorm.  The last thing I remembered was feeling very dizzy and don’t even remember anything else until I woke up the next day around noon with a horrible headache.  I don’t even remember how I did it, but I somehow made it back to my room as my roommate said I came in totally incoherent and she had to undress me and get me in bed.  I realize that it was very stupid to do this especially when I don’t even really know what I was taking and I could have ended up much worse, but I have certainly learned my lesson!


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  3. By Sue, age 16, from Carmichael, CA on 10/24/2014

    My mom won’t let me go to a Halloween party this year at a friend’s house even though there will be no alcohol and her mom will be there.  The reason is that last year my sister got drunk at a Halloween party where there was supposed to be no alcohol.  She came home totally wasted because she’d never had more than a few beers before this.  Our mom was asleep and so was I, but she woke me up when she came in our room and was stumbling around.  Similar to what J.H. describes, she was in such bad shape that I had to help her to the bathroom and on and off the toilet and help her undress and get in bed.  I wasn’t going to tell our mom since we don’t tell on each other, but the next morning she was very sick and had to admit to our mom that she’d gotten drunk.

    So now both of us can’t go to Halloween parties this year!  I feel that I’m being punished for what my sister did when I did nothing wrong and this is very unfair!  I showed my mom the 4 steps that you recommend and promised I would follow them if she would let me go, but she still says no and I don’t think it’s right!


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  4. By LAUREN, from on 10/28/2014

    Sue—Bummer. Well, all you can do is obey. The sins of the older siblings often do fall on the younger ones. Keep trying though, offering these 4 steps and that she can call you ANYTIME, that you WANT her to call and check on you so she can see you are trustworthy. They really do work to keep everyone honest. An additional idea is to buy a breathalyzer and drug test kit from (they’re pretty cheap here) and show your mom that you have them, watch ‘s video with her so she knows how to use them, and offer her to use them on you when you get home. This could be a game changer! Keep insisting that you want to socialize ONLY and here is her proof. Of course I wouldn’t bug her more than one more time about this Halloween. But all this might help you in the future. Proving yourself responsible in other ways helps, too, like doing your best in school and not complaining about chores.—Hope this helps! Love, Lauren

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