What is the Difference Between Molly (MDMA) & Sally (MDA)?
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In December 2015, the body of Scott Weiland, former lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, among the most successful rock bands of the 1990s, was found dead on a tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota. Weiland struggled with addiction for decades. His death has been ruled an accidental overdose from a combination of drugs, including methylenedioxyemphetamine or MDA. Known on the street as “Sally,” MDA is closely related to “Molly” or “Ecstasy,” the street names for MDMA.
The untimely death of Weiland has sparked a national conversation about the differences as well as the dangers of MDA and MDMA. Before launching into chemical specifics, though, it’s important to note that on the street or at the point of sale, no one can be sure about the makeup of either drug. MDMA and MDA are rarely ever pure. Sold as either a pill or a powder, they can be cut with any number of toxic chemicals that users are unaware of and will not be able to tell first responders if necessary.
Both substances fall under the phenthylamine and amphetamine classes of drugs. In other words, MDA and MDMA are both stimulants and psychedelics. Neither drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration or currently deemed safe for the treatment of any medical condition. While they’re often sold for the same price, they cause much different “highs.”
What Are the Traits of MDA (Sally)?
- Short-term side effects that can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, lowered appetite, euphoria and a sense of wellbeing
- Longer term side effects can include erectile dysfunction, anxiety, muscle tension, memory loss, headaches and depression
- Considered more psychedelic or hallucinogen than stimulant
- Users report a much more intense visual high, seeing tracers and other vision side effects
- It is associated with a “heavier body high” and energy that last up to six hours
What Are the Traits of MMDA (Molly, Ecstasy)?
- Short-term side effects can be nausea, lowered appetite, vomiting, euphoria, decreased negative emotion, reduced insecurity and feelings of wellbeing
- Longer term side effects can be depression, anxiety, increased negative emotion and insomnia
- Considered more psychedelic than stimulant
- Associated with more of a “lovey” high that doesn’t last quite as long
Many experts argue that the term “overdose” is incorrectly applied to drugs like MDA and MDMA because there is no standard “dose” to begin with. In fact, studies have shown that in fatalities related to this class of drugs, individuals were thought to have ingested an amount accepted as “safe” for recreational use.
It’s imperative that individuals exhibiting symptoms of an overdose receive immediate medical attention.
Signs that a person is experiencing an adverse reaction to MDA or MDMA include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Panic attacks
- High blood pressure
The physical and psychological dangers of MDA and MDMA are very real. There’s some debate about whether or not the drugs are physically addictive, though it’s been shown that users develop a tolerance. This means they must take more and more of the drug to experience the same effects. Psychologically, repeated abuse can cause a chemical imbalance in the brain that leads to mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.
It’s important for parents to talk with their teenagers not just about the difference between MDA and MDMA, but also about the very real risks associated with doing any drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, use of MDMA among teenager is down, but teenagers remain the some of the most at-risk and vulnerable populations when it comes to drug abuse and addiction.
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