McHenry County resisting Ecstasy resurgence

CRYSTAL LAKE – Methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

The name of the increasingly popular drug is as difficult to say as it is for officials to determine what elements are in it.

The drug, known as Molly, is essentially a powdered form of Ecstasy that can be combined with any substance from caffeine to cough syrup to cocaine, said Craig Riehle, access director at Rosecrance Health Network. It is that factor of the unknown that could have fatal consequences for users, Riehle said.

“It’s not going to be a drug that you are going to see a lot of deaths or overdoses in and of itself. It’s the other stuff the drug has been cut with,” he said. “These [providers] are out to make as much product as they can sell as cheaply as they can produce it and use things to increase its profitability.”

Molly has drawn national attention after a number of deaths at nightclubs were linked to the drug. Riehle said the drug gives users the same feelings of connectedness and hallucinations that made Ecstasy popular in the 1990s, only it is stronger because it is inhaled and not ingested.

He said it does not have the same addictive nature of drugs such as heroin, making it difficult to pick up on signs that someone has used.

“We have about 20 percent of the kids we see that say they have experimented with club drugs, but it’s not something they generally go back to,” Riehle said. “It’s not as big of a threat as something like heroin, where you develop such a dependence that you become reliant on it just to get through the day.”

Karolina Kozakiewicz, a counselor at The Counseling Center, said she has not seen a large issue with club drugs, but because they are not as addictive, many will not seek counseling.

But the drug still can be dangerous, and the best way to know whether a person could be using is no different than checking on concerns about other drug use, Kozakiewicz said.

“Check the medicine cabinet,” she said. “A lot of kids start in their parents’ medicine cabinet with drugs like Vicodin and get caught up so quickly and start experimenting with these cheaper drugs.”

Sgt. Mike Muraski, a member of the McHenry County Sheriff’s narcotics team, said he has seen the same trend as Riehle and Kozakiewicz when it comes to club drugs.

Reports of drugs such as Molly have been nonexistent in the area, Muraski said, but his narcotics teams always keeps an eye out for all possibilities, as trends can change quickly in the drug market.

While heroin dominates the area now, Muraski said, a couple of years ago the main problem was outdoor marijuana growths, and it can change again at any time.

“We haven’t had informants or the general public give us any reports about club drugs so I don’t know if it is more of a Chicago-type thing or why that is,” he said. “Trends seem to change all the time. It runs in cycles.”

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