HARTFORD, Conn. – Ten Wesleyan University students and two visitors received medical attention after taking a party drug known as Molly over the weekend on campus, including some who attended a rave music show, school officials said Monday.
Eight people were still hospitalized Monday, university President Michael Roth said.
The school became aware of the incident early Sunday morning after several students showed up seeking treatment at a hospital near campus, university spokeswoman Lauren Rubenstein said. Two students had been flown by helicopter for treatment in Hartford, 20 miles north of the campus in Middletown.
Molly is a term used to describe a refined form of Ecstasy, a synthetic drug also known as MDMA. It can drive up body temperature and cause liver, kidney or cardiovascular failure.
Dr. Mark Neavyn, chief of toxicology at Hartford Hospital, said users who believe they are taking Molly are often receiving different kinds of designer drugs, with ranges of purity and potency making the health risks unpredictable. He said testing is underway to confirm what drugs the Wesleyan patients took.
"When we see these people in the emergency department and they claim to have taken Molly, we don't pay attention to that word anymore. It's so commonly not MDMA, we just start from square one and say it's some sort of drug abuse," Neavyn said.
In a letter to campus, Roth urged students to share any knowledge of who is distributing the drugs "before more people are hurt."
"These drugs can be altered in ways that make them all the more toxic. Take a stand to protect your fellow students," he wrote.
Some of the students who required medical attention attended a rave music show at the school's Eclectic Society social house on campus Saturday night, Rubenstein said.
"Some of the students were there, but not all of them and there is not necessarily a connection there," Rubenstein said. "They are really looking all over campus."
The show featured disc jockeys from New York who go by the name Swim Team. They did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
The hospital and the school both declined to provide updated patient conditions Monday, citing privacy concerns.
Middletown police Chief William McKenna said his department was pursing information about a "bad batch" of the drug.
"Our first and foremost goal is to obtain information on the batch of Molly that was distributed to the students on the campus," McKenna said. "This information is critical in ensuring the recovery of those students affected."