This weekend, 10 students and 2 visitors were hospitalized at Wesleyan University from what was deemed to be a bad batch of MDMA, a drug more commonly known as Molly.

According to speculation, the “overdoses” arose from the sample containing unknown substances and other designer drugs, which were harmful in combination. On Monday, two of the students were in serious condition, and two were critical. In the wake of these incidents, four Wes students were arrested for possessing substances and paraphernalia. It is unclear what the ties are between these students and last weekend’s hospital influx. The students have been named and linked to photographs in this Rolling Stone article.

Naturally, this incident will be a major conversation point for Wesleyan’s campus, but with the popularity of this club drug, and the publicity of the hospitalization, the effects may be far reaching. In the context of Brown University, a Herald Poll indicates that less than 10% of Brown students have ever used MDMA. However, as the article touches on, perceived usage is much higher for many students on campus, especially during times like Spring Weekend.

On Spring Weekend, Molly engages both experienced and novice users. Here are some quotations from Brown students who have taken it before, on how the recent incident as Wesleyan will affect their future usage:

“I’ve always tested my drugs so I’m not worried.”  – ’15

When I was doing [Molly] regularly, I tested every batch with a kit that anyone can buy for $60 online. The funny thing about drugs is that it’s usually not the regular drug users who get in trouble–it’s the ones who do it once with non knowledge and without bothering to educate themselves on what they are putting in there bodies.” – ’16

I don’t plan on doing Molly again; it is an incredibly dangerous drug and I think college students don’t realize just how dangerous it is.” – ’17

I have leftover stuff from last year, but I’m probably never buying anymore.” – ’16

“Molly is dangerous because it’s illegal, and there’s no fear of being fined/jailed for giving out faulty or dangerous products, because you’re gonna be jailed for selling it regardless.” – ’16

As one student pointed out, testing kits are essential to look into the purity of your purchase. A New York Times article investigating the phenomenon in 2013 warned that “despite promises of greater purity and potency, Molly, as its popularity had grown, is now thought to be as contaminated as Ecstasy once was.”

You can purchase testing kits online (one student suggested or request one–anonymously and for free–from Brown’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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Nico Jaar ’12 to play Wesleyan Spring Fling

In a total reversal of roles, Wesleyan booked our very own super-producer Nico Jaar ’12 to perform at its Spring Fling in May. Wesleyan alums Das Racist, MGMT, and Santigold have all graced our Spring Weekend stage in recent years (2011, 2010, and 2009, respectively), and we are thrilled to return the favor and up our indie cred in the process.

Study drugs: helpful tool or form of cheating?

Ritalin, a form of cheating? — Heather Stone / Chicago Tribune (MCT)

It’s a well-accepted fact that some students use a little more than coffee and hard work to get ahead on their school work. But recent changes to Wesleyan University’s Code of Non-Academic Conduct bring the (im)morality of study drugs to the fore.

This semester, Wesleyan updated its Code of Non-Academic Conduct to prevent “misuse or abuse” of prescription drugs, according to a report from Inside Higher Ed. While many schools have policies against the use of drugs not prescribed to the user, those policies are usually based on health concerns.

But it seems with this move from Wesleyan, the use of study drugs is being raised as a moral issue. The Honor Code at Wesleyan requires that academic work is completed “without improper assistance,” so the implication is that the use of non-prescribed stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin that keep students awake, alert and focused, is ethically wrong.

But the issue is still up for debate. David Leibow, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry in Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, quoted in Inside Higher Ed, called the ethical motivation behind the ban “dubious,” and compared their use with drinking coffee or simply having a better work ethic than other students.

So Blog readers, what do you think? Is using a pill to help you get through a paper or an exam a form of cheating? Or is it using an available resource to do well in school? Tell us in the comments! (And remember, they’re anonymous.)