Rave to the Grave: The Dangerous Side of EDM Music

By Yili Wu, Editor-in-Chief

The Electric Zoo (commonly shortened as E Zoo) is an electronic music festival that takes place over Labor Day Weekend in New York City. EDM music fans flock to Randall’s Island Park to hear famous DJ’s from all over the world.

This year’s E Zoo line up included well known names such as Calvin Harris, Zedd, Steve Aoki, Alesso, and many more. The three-day  festival promises an exciting time and constant music. Electric Zoo 2013 was cut short due to two deaths and four hospitalizations, all relating to drug overdoses of the commonly known drug, molly. The name “molly” commonly refers to a drug frequently used by EDM festival goers to enhance their concert experience. Molly has been alluded to in many rap songs , and if you don’t what Molly is, you’ve at least heard of it.

Although the song lyrics “Popped a molly, I’m sweatin’!” may come to mind when you hear the term, molly, not many people know what molly is. Molly is an incredibly mysterious drug, because you never know what it is made of. It is allegedly another from of ecstasy or MDMA, guised as a pure powder in a gelatinous capsule. Molly is often laced with other substances such as methamphetamine, also known as meth. The unpredictability of the drug can seem exciting, but is ultimately extremely dangerous.

During E Zoo, two people died of drug overdose, specifically molly. The 20-year-old University of New Hampshire student, Olivia Rotundo, supposedly took 6 hits of molly, causing her death. Jeffrey Russ, 23, also died during Electric Zoo. His family was told that he took ecstasy, but crystal meth was found in his pockets after he died. As a result, E Zoo was shut down for its last day, causing outrage to New York EDM fans who had been anticipating the event for months. Anthony Pettigrew from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said, “There’s no good batch of molly […] This is stuff that’s made in somebody’s bathtub in either Asia, the Netherlands, Canada, you have no idea. Dealers want to make more money so they’ll mix and adulterate the stuff with meth and any number of other drugs to addict people to it.” Molly has been deemed by the DEA as a Schedule 1 con- trolled substance, meaning that there is no medical benefit from this drug and it has a high potential for abuse. Symptoms of Molly include confusion, anxiety, depression, paranoia, muscle tensions, tremors, involuntary teeth clenching, blurred vision, and organ failure- certainly not something one would want to deal with when trying to enjoy some music.

Michael A. Braun, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Detroit Field division said, “This is another example of individuals exploiting our young people with dangerous mixtures of chemicals that have the potential for deadly consequences.” Although it is not E Zoo’s fault for the deaths of these two young people, EDM music as a whole is increasingly breeding a culture that promotes hard drug usage that can cause death. In addition to the two deaths at E Zoo, there were also 31 arrests during the weekend, many related to drug sales or disorderly conduct as a result of drugs.

There’s no crime in enjoying some Steve Aoki, but if you choose to attend EDM music festivals, be aware of the dangers of molly. Don’t become susceptible to the highly harmful repercussions of this recently popularized fad without realizing the dangerous nature of this drug. Molly is never in a pure form, and there is no such thing as a good molly since it is often mixed with other harmful and less expensive substances.

No need to find her, you’ll probably sweat anyway.


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