After a lull, Europeans are getting back into MDMA. That’s according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction’s 2016 report, which uses admittedly limited data to track controlled substances. Still, the findings are clear: Molly’s back, and it’s literally stronger than ever.
Though its usage declined in Europe throughout the aughts, MDMA has seen a resurgence in the last two or three years. The organization estimates that 2.5 million people used MDMA in the EU last year; 2.1 million of those were between the ages of 15 and 34. Lifetime usage numbers now list 9.1 million European men and 3.9 million women as having tried the stimulant at some point. The increasingly popular substance, once relegated to fringe raves and nightclubs, now makes up about three percent of the illicit drug market in Europe.
“High-dose powders, crystals and tablets with a range of logos, colours and shapes are available, with evidence of production to order and the use of sophisticated and targeted marketing,” the report states. “This may be a deliberate strategy by producers to improve perception of the drug after a lengthy period in which poor drug quality and adulteration had resulted in a decline in use.”
Basically, consumers got tired of taking ecstasy of questionable origin and content. They’ve gotten savvier, and are no longer willing to drop whatever concoction is on offer that night. “Give us MDMA!” the party kids cried, and drug producers have apparently acquiesced to the demand.
“After a period when reports suggested that the majority of tablets sold as ecstasy in Europe contained low doses of MDMA or none at all, recent evidence indicates that this situation has changed,” the authors state. “Reports indicate an increased availability both of high-dose MDMA tablets and of MDMA in powder and crystal forms.”
The flashpoint for this increase seems to be the Netherlands, which has a long history of high MDMA production.