Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ulster Prevention Council Blog 8-27-13: Dancing with Miley? or Molly?

For the last several weeks I've addressed drug references in song lyrics. This week Miley Cyrus is in the news for a decidedly raunchy performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. However, I was already planning to write about the lyrics to her song "We Can't Stop". While at first she claimed that the lyrics were "dancing with Miley", she eventually conceded that she was referring to the drug Molly, which is often billed as a "pure" form of the club drug ecstasy.
So la da di da di, we like to party
Dancing with Molly
Doing whatever we want
This is our house
This is our rules
And we can’t stop
And we won’t stop
Can’t you see it’s we who own the night
Can’t you see it we who bout’ that life

Miley Cyrus is not the only performer to openly refer to using Molly. Madonna named her 2012 album MDNA and, on stage at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami that same year, she asked the crowd: "Has anyone seen Molly?"

Molly has also became popular with hip-hop artists and rappers as well. NBA star LeBron James was caught on camera rapping "popped a Molly, I'm sweatin'" from Trinidad James "All Gold Everything" during a warmup. The video went viral.  "The impact that that song had is what really turned things around for it," said Devron Kelly, one of the hosts of  "Hip-Hop Flavors" on WMNF. "Basically, it's just a new drug, so you're going to have kids experimenting with whatever they hear the latest rappers talking about."  2 Chainz, Nicki Minaj and Kanye West also sing about Molly.
Musical references to "Molly" misrepresent its dangers. It is often billed as a safe high with no side effects. Ecstasy normally comes in a tablet form and is mixed with caffeine or even other illegal drugs. Molly is the same basic drug (MDMA) but without any other ingredients mixed in. The illusion of "purity" gives users a false sense of security. With demand starting to drive up the price of Molly, dealers sometimes are tampering with the pure MDMA, cutting it with other things before selling it. As with other illegal drugs, users never really know the amount taken, and high levels can cause extreme hallucinations, heart trouble and organ failure.
Molly gives people a sense of euphoria. Users report a false sense of calm, lowered anxiety levels, and a skewed view of the world around them. This false sense of well-being can easily be a user's worst enemy by causing them to overlook dangers, leading to injury to themselves and others.
Physical symptoms include high blood pressure, sweating, insomnia, nausea, and uncontrolled teeth-grinding. Teeth grinding contributes to the fad of using pacifiers when out clubbing; lollipops and gum are also often used.
MDMA causes long-lasting damage to the serotonin system, which regulates processing of information and emotions. Use may result in permanent damage to one's ability to learn, pay attention and remember, difficulty sleeping and ongoing depression.
Molly is a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that it is absolutely illegal to sell, distribute, buy, ingest, or own.

Cheryl DePaolo
Director of Ulster Prevention Council

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ulster Prevention Council Blog: 8-20-13

The red Solo cup is arguably the cup of choice for youth and young adults. Can you sing along with the following chorus from the Toby Keith song?
Red Solo cup, I fill you up
Let's have a party, let's have a party
I love you red Solo cup, I lift you up
Proceed to party, proceed to party

To view today's blog, please head on over to our Facebook page at Ulster Prevention Council and check out some visuals for reducing alcohol intake by counting standard drinks, including one using the red Solo cup.

While you are there, please "Like" us on Facebook, take the drink count quiz and check out some of our media messages.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ulster Prevention Council Blog 8-12-13: Purple Drank

I have two young adults at home and they are almost always in charge of the music selection in the car. Although they listen to a wide variety of genres I confess that just like my own parents, much of the time I can't decipher the words. Sometimes when I can, I don't understand the meaning behind the words. To their dismay, I usually sing along anyway.
Today I've been doing some research into current drug trends, and as I wandered around the internet I began to look at song lyrics about drug use written by some well known artists.  Of course there have been plenty of drug references in lyrics for decades.  My thought about these particular songs, though, is that they are contributing to the spread of a dangerous regional drug trend that might otherwise have been contained: Purple Drank.
Mixing soda, prescription cough syrup and candy, often Jolly Ranchers, with crushed ice in a white styrofoam cup to make "Purple Drank" started in Houston, Texas, now known as the “City of Syrup”. Drinking it makes you "lean"- unsteady on your feet. While use dates back several decades, Purple Drank has recently gone mainstream in tracks by Eminem, Paul Wall, Kanye West, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, Drake, Nicki Manaj and scores of others.
Let's take a look at Lil' Wayne's song Me and My Drank. He references codeine (a narcotic), promethazine (an antihistamine) and Sprite as ingredients that he has in his cup in the studio. Lil' Wayne's lyrics acknowledge several artists who have died due to using Purple Drank including Big Moe, Pimp C, and DJ Screw.  Here are some lyrics from the song:

[Short Dawg:]
I usually don't do this but...
Yea T you gotta feel me
Sippin on some drink the color purple like silly
Really they say I should chill before it kills me
But so will a car crash or a nine milli
And I aint even mention cigarettes or airplanes
So grab a sprite heres a pint we can share Wayne
Yea Mayne...tastes so sweet and I aint gonna have a seat
Cuz I don't wanna fall asleep
So just pour it in my drink and ima sip until I lean hard
Drink got me moving slower than a retard
So press record and hear these hot raps
Im in the booth cup on me like a jock-strap
And I will not nap until the bottles empty
Then I pour a little more for past Screw and Pimp C
And I would stop but believe it I cant
So till Short is gone its just me and my drink
Up in the studio me and my drank, me and my drank, me and my drank
Uh uh Up in the studio me and my drank, me and my drank, me me and my drank

On March 15, 2013, it was reported that Wayne had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit in Los Angeles after being discovered shaking uncontrollably and unconscious. Doctors found a high amount of codeine in his system and his stomach had to be pumped three times. He was released from the hospital three days later.
Two NFL players have been arrested for possessing codeine based syrups without a prescription, and Terrence Kiel, a San Diego Chargers player, was arrested during practice for possession with intent to sell prescription cough syrup for use in making the drink.
Several legal commercial products loosely based on "purple drank" are marketed in the United States including "Drank", "Purple Stuff", "Sippin Syrup", and "Lean".

What's so bad about Purple Drank? Codeine can make people feel a sense of euphoria, but can also cause hypoventilation, a potentially fatal inability to breathe properly. Abuse of codeine can lead to physical dependence and significant withdrawal symptoms. Promethazine is an antihistamine that is typically used to fight nausea and to induce sedation. In low doses, promethazine can enhance the effects of codeine, causing more euphoric feelings than codeine alone. However, high doses of promethazine can also cause potentially deadly central nervous system depression and hypoventilation, extreme weakness and drowsiness. Using these substances at higher amounts than those prescribed for legitimate medical purposes can be very dangerous. Add alcohol or other substances to the mix, and they are even more dangerous.
So what does this mean for the Hudson Valley?  Purple Drank is now part of pop culture, and simple instructions for mixing it are as close as the internet. Adolescents are likely to be curious about it and perhaps give it a try. Let's ask them if they've heard of it, what they think about it, and if they know anyone who has tried it. Adolescents often experience danger as exciting rather than as a deterrent to experimenting. If unable to procure prescription syrup, youth are likely to try mixing other syrups with soda, including over the counter cough and cold syrups that are also dangerous when abused. So, when remembering to lock up your meds, include any liquid medications, and dispose of unused prescription and over the counter syrups.

Cheryl DePaolo
Director of Ulster Prevention Council