Dangerous drug raises concerns in southwestern Virginia

Molly might be linked to recent deaths in Boston, New York and Washington, DC

POSTED: 07:14 PM EDT Sep 06, 2013    UPDATED: 08:47 PM EDT Sep 06, 2013 

A bridge in Charlottesville now carries a colorful tribute to University of Virginia sophomore Shelly Goldsmith, who died last weekend after collapsing at a Washington D.C. nightclub.

Toxicology tests will determine if the drug Molly was responsible for Goldsmith's death, but the Washington Post reports that investigators believe she might have taken a drug linked to recent deaths in Boston and New York.

Here in the Roanoke Valley, there is little evidence that Molly is having a major impact, but national headlines are raising local concern.

"The real danger behind Molly is similar to MDMA," said Roanoke Police Sergeant Will Drake, "but it's more dangerous because it causes severe cardiac issues. It really messes with the body's ability to maintain its temperature. It skyrockets even higher than MDMA does, which in turn causes fatigue, dehydration, hypothermia."

And with frequent references in popular songs, Molly is well-known to high school and college students in the area.

Kathy Sullivan is the director of RAYSAC, the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition. "I think it's pervasive in pop culture and of course most kids listen to music," Sullivan told WDBJ7, "so almost every song if you listen to it right now has some mention of Molly. I think we need to make parents aware that's not the best friend, but a drug trend here. "