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Investigation Continues After 12 People Overdose at Wesleyan University

Nicole Cho
Creative Commons
Wesleyan campus view from Foss Hill in a file photo.

Police are trying to trace the source of a possibly bad batch of MDMA – a drug also known as Molly – after ten students and two visitors overdosed at Wesleyan University. As of Monday afternoon, eight people remained hospitalized.

Emergency services responded Sunday to eleven calls for help at Wesleyan.  

A student who requested that WNPR not use her name said, "They had a bunch of ambulances literally sitting on campus waiting to help any students who needed support."

She said people on campus are shaken. "We’re all pretty smart kids, and we’re taught to make very good decisions," she said. "And I know everybody on this campus is very capable of making good decisions. But then incidents like these happen, [and] you have to step back, and wonder if we are actually capable of making these decisions."

Middletown police said they’re working with the state’s attorney’s office, state forensics science laboratory, and Wesleyan to determine the origin of the drugs, and the extent of criminal involvement in the case.

Molly is the term used to describe a refined form of Ecstasy -- another name for MDMA – which is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that has similarities to the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. It can drive up body temperature and cause liver, kidney and cardiovascular failure.

The University of Virginia issued a series of videos on the dangers of Molly after the death of a student there in 2013. That same year, there were deaths connected to the drug at the University of New Hampshire and at Plymouth State University.  And Wesleyan school health officials alerted students, faculty and staff last September that students on campus had been hospitalized after taking the drug.

Diane Orson is a special correspondent with Connecticut Public. She is a longtime reporter and contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories have been heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane spent seven years as CT Public Radio's local host for Morning Edition.

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