Any fatal overdose is a human life cut unnecessarily short, and four fatalities linked to the popular club drug MDMA — also known as Molly — have led to a crackdown by clubs and police alike. Venues are intensifying searches of patrons, and police are stepping up arrests. Authorities are looking into whether a bad batch caused the death of a 19-year-old University of New Hampshire student, who attended a show at the House of Blues. If so, those responsible should be pursued and held criminally accountable.
Yet stricter law enforcement isn’t a sufficient response to the public health issues created by MDMA, a drug that’s been name-checked by celebrities including Kanye West, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus. Once considered a purer form of ecstasy, the MDMA being sold today is more often a synthetic version cut with substances such as methamphetamine and rat poison. It becomes especially dangerous when mixed with alcohol. Avoiding dehydration is crucial, which means that clubs now charging as much as $5 for water should make it free and plentiful instead.
It’s an overreaction, though, to cancel concerts and close off music venues to stop the use of MDMA, and efforts to combat Molly shouldn’t distract officers from focusing on more common drugs, such as heroin — which right now is the cheapest and most prevalent it has been in two decades.