You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Magazine

There’s something about Molly

How a supposedly safe party drug turned lethal.

MULTICOLORED LASER LIGHTS search the darkness, picking out bodies crowded into the tight, hot space of Rise. Located in the Theatre District, the city’s only after-hours dance club is packed at 3 a.m., full of people swaying to a pounding bass line, music you can feel in your chest. Most are in their late teens or 20s, and many are clearly rolling — they’re under the influence of a drug called MDMA, sometimes called Molly, that causes a flood, or “cascade,” of serotonin and other neurotransmitters to the brain.

The effect, for most users, is reduced anxiety, an increased feeling of connection to others, and heightened sensations — sight, hearing, touch — making everything feel good. Downstairs, a dozen clubgoers lounge on couches under a pair of disco balls. A shirtless guy with flowy pants is wearing gloves with glowing, colored tips, spinning them repetitively in front of a woman wearing sunglasses while another guy gives her a back rub.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week