CINCINNATI - An old drug with a hot new name is blamed for the deaths of two people at a dance festival in New York over the Labor Day weekend.
“Molly” is a form of ecstasy that has been making a new appearance in pop culture and is growing in awareness.
“Molly” is an illegal drug that is short for molecule. It’s a pure form of the drug MDMA.
Pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Kanye West mention the drug in some of their recent songs, but it's not as innocent as it sounds.
"They can't assume that just because it's a white powder, it's a pure drug,” said UC pharmacology professor Gary Gudelsky.
Gudelsky has been studying how drugs like MDMA affect the brain for over 25 years.
"The adverse affects or deaths even that have been reported in the last two days that have been purportedly associated with MDMA, are in fact due to MDMA itself or if there were contaminants that might be apparent on toxicological tests."
Jeffery Russ, 23, and Olivia Rotondo, 20, died after taking "Molly" at the massive multi-day Electric Zoo Music Festival in New York.
Gudelsky says drug dealers will sometimes mix "Molly" with harmful substances without the buyer knowing about it, which can kill you.
"Typically this is what leads to death is people basically cook from the inside,” he said.
As the drug regains popularity, we asked some UC students if they've heard of it.
Gudelsky speculates why it's rising in popularity.
"It may be, as I read, that people feel somewhat disconnected with all the electronic devices and texting and a lack of connectedness and interactions with people and this drug facilitates that in people."
Gudelsky says it's not clear what long-term affects it could have on the brain and there's always that risk for death.