After reading a New York Times article regarding the recent deaths caused by the drug molly, it got me thinking about drug use in the arts world. For centuries artists have taken to drugs for inspiration- that is no secret. We often hear about musicians, visual artists, and theatre professionals smoking this or taking that but more often than not it gets swept under the rug. Although I often think of the 60s and 70s as being the high point (no pun intended) of concert drug use with The Beatles and the ever-famous Woodstock I’m learning now that that assumption was so wrong. In today’s culture, drugs, particularly molly, are being promoted by todays musicians. It is often alluded to in many hit songs such as “Diamonds” by Rihanna and “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus. It is as if drug culture surrounding music has changed and is now more socially acceptable as ever.
Molly — short for “molecule” — is billed as a purified form of MDMA, the main ingredient in Ecstasy. It boosts both serotonin and dopamine, making a person feel happy, and enhancing the pleasure of touch. Harvard Medical School professor John Halpern says side effects can range from dehydration to even overhydration. This drug has been the talk of the town for many east coast cities including Boston and New York. Several Boston area colleges have been working to inform and warn students of the impact that this drug has. Even BU today published an article informing university students of how close to home this drug really is.
But with all this information being thrown our way my biggest question is why – What does this drug do to make it so appealing? Apparently “it (molly) makes the music more enjoyable … almost life-changing, honestly, the experience you get at these concerts.” But when hearing this, the first thing I think of is why would you spend your money on a concert that isn’t good enough to be experienced sober? Has music really gotten so bad that a drug needs to be consumed to enjoy it? And if this is how our generation feels about music, how the heck do we think they feel about theatre. Now, I’m not saying we need to go and completely change how we do concerts or theatre, but maybe it’s time to step back for a second and take a look at what we are creating as artists and see if it is resonating with today’s culture. Of course not everything we create is going to affect every audience we perform for and I am not saying it should; but what I am saying is that change can be good and maybe this is our generations way of informing us that it is time for a change.