Police and doctors warn of potentially deadly “Molly” ahead of ACL weekend

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin City Limits music festival is just days away, and as the City of Austin prepares to host nearly half a million concertgoers over two weekends, Austin Police are warning people about deadly drugs being sold across the city.

The Austin Police Department issued a public safety alert Saturday. They said a “lethal batch of narcotics” is going around.

APD said one person died and two others received treatment at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas.

Police said the drug is commonly referred to as “Molly” or “Ecstasy.”

“You have no idea what it is.” Dr. TJ Milling, emergency physician at Dell Seton, told KXAN, that is one of many problems with “Molly.”

“You never know what else is in there, what kind of contaminants,” he said. “These are not being made in big pharmaceutical factories. They’re probably being made in somebody’s garage, and who knows what kind of things are getting mixed in with them.”

Milling said “Molly” is a club drug that has chemicals that cause feelings of euphoria, but emergency responders in Austin are seeing that this batch is causing people to be agitated, and in some cases, causing seizures or stopping breathing.

“You really shouldn’t take anything that you’re buying off the street because you don’t know what you’re getting, and… it can kill you,” Milling said.

2014 death of a 21-year-old who took ecstasy at ACL

In 2014, a Texas State University student died after taking “Molly” at the festival.

Police said an acquaintance gave 21-year-old Jessica Hunter and her friends the drug. Officers learned they all had a bad reaction, but it wasn’t as severe as what happened to Hunter.

They said she was sweating profusely, her body was stiff and her complexion turned gray. Hunter died three days later.

ACL organizers respond

Austin police said their homicide unit is looking into the overdose death that happened over the weekend, but they have not released the victim’s age or name.

ACL organizers said in a statement, safety and security is their number one priority and something they focus on year-round.

They said:

We work closely with the Austin Police Department to continually evaluate our security measures, seen and unseen, to ensure the safety of everyone in the park. We do not discuss the specifics of our security plans for obvious reasons.

For the safety of everyone entering the festival, all fans are subject to a full and complete airport-style search prior to entry.  This may include a full body pat-down and magnetometer screening before entry.  All attendees entering the event are searched at the gates for prohibited items, including alcohol and illegal drugs. Austin Police Department Officers will be located throughout the park, including at each festival entrance.

Milling said, whether you’re at the festival or just out and about, the best way to stay safe is simple. “I understand the difficulties with just say no, but when it comes to club drugs, you should just say no.”

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