Using any drug combined with alcohol can be dangerous, but using Molly (MDMA) while drinking alcohol may be especially dangerous. Doing so can lead to severe dehydration and heighten the risk of organ damage. It may also increase the potential for risky behaviors, such as drinking and driving or engaging in unsafe sexual encounters.
Both Molly and alcohol use independently can cause dehydration, especially when used in club or rave environments where individuals are dancing and sweating profusely. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, and MDMA is a stimulant drug with hallucinogenic properties.
Because these substances produce contrasting effects, and the use of MDMA can mask alcohol’s sedating effects. This interaction can lead to excessive alcohol consumption, which may, in turn, result in potentially lethal alcohol poisoning.
Why Do People Combine Alcohol and Molly?
Molly is commonly found at electronic music festivals, raves, concerts, and parties. Because alcohol use is also common at such venues, it is not uncommon for individuals to combine the two substances. Some people use both substances to enhance Molly’s euphoric effects, and a few studies have offered an explanation for why this tends to occur.
For example, a 2002 study in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapy examined the MDMA and alcohol interaction. Investigators found that levels of MDMA in the subject’s blood increased by 13 percent after they consumed alcohol. And although the MDMA-alcohol combination was actually shown to reduce blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by up to 15 percent overall, study participants experienced a euphoric high that lasted longer than when they used either substance independent of the other.
This study also revealed that while MDMA reduced alcohol’s sedating effects, it did not mitigate intoxication levels. Furthermore, the investigators concluded that this overall effect could have dangerous consequences, as individuals might feel much less intoxicated than they actually are. This outcome could increase the likelihood of driving under the influence, unsafe sex, and other risky behaviors.
Fortunately, the risk of MDMA dependence and addiction is relatively low. But, because combining Molly and alcohol produces a longer-lasting high, experts have suggested combining the substances could lead to a higher abuse potential than when using MDMA alone.
Health Effects of Mixing Molly and Alcohol
Combining Molly and alcohol can result in significant health complications, including dehydration and organ damage. According to a 2003 report from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration), there were more than 10,000 MDMA-related emergency depart visits in 2011. Nearly 30 percent of those visits were also related to alcohol use. Reports of young adults being hospitalized after mixing Molly and alcohol at electronic music festivals and raves are common.
Overheating and Dehydration
As noted, MDMA overdoses are often associated with hyperthermia or overheating and severe dehydration. Reportedly, some individuals’ body temperatures have risen as high as 110 degrees, often after dancing and being hyperactive for an extended period, and not drinking enough water to compensate for lost fluids. Alcohol, a diuretic, can exacerbate Molly-related dehydration, leading to heat stroke, kidney failure, and death.
If used independently of each other, Molly and alcohol can both induce damage to the brain and liver. Using the two in conjunction further increases these risks. Research on rats has suggested that mixing alcohol and MDMA may also adversely affect the heart. A 2015 study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that using the two in combination increased stress on the rats’ hearts at the cellular level.
Other Potential Effects
Finally, research from 2011 published in the journal Psychopharmacology showed that adolescent mice that were administered alcohol and MDMA appeared depressed and anxious and exhibited impaired movement. The animals also revealed brain inflammation during their autopsy.
Like many intoxicating drugs, Molly causes an unnatural spike in the body’s feel-good chemicals. As an individual comes down from the drug, the brain is depleted of serotonin, a neurotransmitter closely associated with feelings of reward and well-being. Thus, negative feelings of depression and anxiety may onset as the drug is gradually expelled from the system.
If an individual mixes Molly and alcohol, their mood will probably not improve during withdrawal because of alcohol’s effects on the brain’s neurochemicals responsible for mood regulation.
Treatment for Addiction
MDMA has a relatively low potential for addiction, but some evidence suggests that users can develop psychological dependence. On the other hand, alcohol is highly addictive, and alcoholism is among the most common and devastating diseases in the world today. Using the two substances in combination even once can be extremely risky, and those who do so frequently may encounter even more long-term health complications.
Just Believe Recovery is a specialized addiction treatment center that provide support and care for both alcohol dependence and drug abuse. Using evidence-based services essential for the recovery process, including behavioral therapy and counseling, we provide those we treat with the knowledge, support, and tools they need to fully recover, prevent relapse, and begin to experience a healthier, more satisfying life.