The University of Virginia began reaching out to students and their parents last week to warn them about the dangers of the drug Molly after an honors student died as a result of taking the illicit substance at a Washington, D.C. nightclub.
Mary "Shelley" Goldsmith died on Aug. 31 after taking Molly during a night out at Echo Stage. Officials have not yet confirmed her death was caused by the drug, but her father believes it was due to her use of Molly. Goldsmith's death came during the same month that multiple college students and recent graduates died after taking Molly in New York and Boston.
The university distributed a link to a five minute video on YouTube which flashes headlines about the deaths over music reminiscent of a campy informational film from the 1990's. Dr. Chris Holstege, executive director of UVA Student Health, stars in the video discussing the effects of Molly, a form of MDMA.
"What ecstasy does is cause your sodium to drop, and it can drop significantly to the point that you have a seizure and you can have what they call cerebral edema, or your brain swells and then it herniates," Holstege warned. "That leads to death. Even a one-time user of ecstasy may be at risk for that occurring."
The video was sent to parents along with a message from Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Patricia M. Lampkin, according to WVIR.
"Surveys of UVa students conducted over the past 20 years show the use of Ecstasy/Molly is not widespread at UVa, but we know that most young people are aware of its availability and popularity," Lampkin wrote.
Dr. Cathleen Clancy of the National Capital Poison Control Center in Washington, D.C. told WTTG they have handled 48 similar calls relating to Molly use in 2013 so far.
"Sometimes they call because they've taken Molly, and still two days later," Clancy said, "they're restless and not feeling themselves."