SEBRING -These days, the name Molly doesn't necessarily refer to a woman.
On the street, it's come to be the name of a supposedly pure form of Ecstasy, but authorities say that buyers have no guarantee of that.
In Highlands County and throughout the state, according to various newspaper reports, Molly has gained popularity among drug users.
Although the Highlands County Sheriff's Office has only had a small number of cases involving the drug, "that's not indicative of what's going on here," said Capt. Randy LaBelle of the Highlands County Sheriff's Office.
There's evidence that "more and more of it is coming here," LaBelle said.
LaBelle said some people who buy Molly do so because of its being promoted as a pure form of Ecstasy. They may get a false sense of security about it being safer to use, he said.
But, he added, that even if the drug they buy is actually "pure," that doesn't make it safer to use.
In fact, a pure form of Ecstasy may be more dangerous, as it would have a higher potency, he said.
Drugfree.org, web site that promotes abstinence from use of illegal drugs, states that effects from using Molly include involuntary teeth clenching, a loss of inhibitions, blurred vision and in more extreme cases, dehydration and dramatic increases in body temperature.
The use of the drug started spiking earlier this year, LaBelle said. Some songs that appear to reference Molly came out during that period and afterwards, he said.
The drug generally costs about $15 to $25 a hit and comes out in a capsule form, typically brownish or white in color, he said.
But, LaBelle added, that they've seen it in other colors, as well.
The drug has become popular in many parts of Florida.
The Orlando Sentinel reported on Sept. 30 that Molly has become increasingly popular with college students, young adults and suburbanites.
The newspaper quoted federal drug officials as saying that the drug is much more prevalent than a year ago. The article noted that while fatal overdoses of it are uncommon, they do happen. Recently, the article noted, one concertgoer died, while two others suffered overdose symptoms.
A big concern, the article noted, is that while it's promoted as pure, it can actually have fillers that may be more toxic than the drug itself.
Another recent article on the web on the WBBH news site in Fort Myers said that Molly has become the drug of choice in many neighborhoods in Southwest Florida.