Use of "Molly" Drug on the Rise in Arkansas

(KATV) Drug references in pop culture is hardly a new idea. The Beatle's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was widely thought to stand for LSD, something John Lennon denied. But almost 50 years later, today's music sounds a little bit different. Take Miley Cyrus' song "We Can't Stop," which references the drug "Molly." Molly, is the code word for MDMA, better known as ecstasy and it's a name the Arkansas Crime Lab has taken notice of.

"Anytime we start hearing about something new in a song or in a video showing up on youtube all the time we immediately start investigating because we need to be prepared for seeing that in the crime lab," said Chris Harrison of the Arkansas Crime Lab.

There were at least 22 different popular songs this year containing references to Molly. Last year the Arkansas Crime Lab had just 25 cases of confirmed MDMA. This year, it's already up to 42 cases.

"We've seen more Molly in the last 12 months then we've seen in the last 12 months before that," Harrison said.

The scientists at the Arkansas Crime Lab have seen a big{} increase in what they call synthetic drugs. And in the digital age, the drug dealer's name ends in dot com. This year, an online black market web site, Silk Road, best known for anonymous drug trafficking was shuttered as the DEA and other law enforcement try to keep up with the greatest technological minds to date. Drug busts have now gone digital.

"These are really powerful supply generators for all of these new designer drugs, and cathinones and research chemicals. So you're no longer prohibited by who you know. If you can get on the Internet, you can probably get access to some of these drugs and that's what makes them really dangerous," Harrison said.

The DEA in Arkansas said they have at least a half dozen open cases right now.

"Here in Arkansas it was late 2011 is when we opened one our first cases when we started hearing that term Molly," said Bill Bryant of the DEA.

Though hundreds of drugs are being marketed as Molly, he says most people don't actually know what they're getting inside that capsule.

"What they don't realize is most of the time these drugs do not contain MDMA. They contain other drugs, what we call cathinones like bath salts," Bryant said.

Last year the synthetic drug prevention act was signed into law by the president in an attempt to keep up with these new drugs.

"We now have 26 of these synthetic drugs that are now illegal, of course the traffickers try to change the molecules or whatever, but under federal law we have what's called the controlled substance analog act, in basic terms, certain prongs you've got to meet. You know if we meet that criteria then, even if it's not controlled, if it's similar to and meets other criteria then we're able to prosecute them in federal court," Bryant said.

Drugs producers are furiously working to change molecules to stay ahead of authorities, and the federal government has been forced to cope with technology, looking for the newest online black market. And with anonymous currency bitcoin gaining traction online, the digital drug market will only get tougher to enforce.

Enforcement aside, Harrison says this generation of young people are experimenting with drugs their parents never encountered.

"Kids are experimenting with things that no one has ever known what they'd do to you before. We're running a human experiment right now on this generation who are trying all of these new research chemicals," Harrison said.