Four Wesleyan University students have been arrested in relation to a dozen or so students who were hospitalized for overdoses of a party drug known as “Molly.”
Three of the four — Eric Lonergan, of Rio de Janeiro; Zachary Kramer, of Bethesda, Maryland; and Rama Agha Al Nakib, of Lutherville, Maryland — are due in court on Wednesday in Middletown, Connecticut.
Police say Andrew Olson, of Atascadero, California, posted bond Tuesday and is due in court March 3.
According to the New York Daily News, Lonergan was charged with 16 counts of illegally obtaining or supplying of drugs.
All the students have been suspended from the university.
Eleven Wesleyan students, some of whom had attended a rave music show on Saturday night, received medical attention over the weekend. Police say two students were still being treated Tuesday.
Police officers trying to find out who supplied the Molly and collect evidence in the case searched locations in and around Wesleyan's campus, Chief William McKenna said. Authorities from various agencies worked to identify the different types of chemicals in the batch of Molly that caused the weekend overdoses, he said.
"This particular batch may have had a mixture of several kinds of designer drug chemicals, making the health risks unpredictable and treatment to combat the effects complex and problematic," he said.
Wesleyan president Michael Roth said the university takes drug distribution allegations seriously and is cooperating with authorities.
"We will do everything we can to make our community as safe as possible," he said in a statement.
Roth had sent a letter to people on campus on Monday asking for help: "If you are aware of people distributing these substances, please let someone know before more people are hurt," he said then.
The university became aware of the Molly problem early Sunday after several students showed up seeking treatment at a hospital near campus, university spokeswoman Lauren Rubenstein said. Two students listed in critical condition Sunday were airlifted for treatment in Hartford, 20 miles north of campus.
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.
According to the Hartford Courant, about one out of 13 Wesleyan students was disciplined for a drug violation in 2013.
Federal records show that Wesleyan had the second-highest number of students "referred for disciplinary action" for drug abuse violations in 2012 and 2013 among colleges of its size.
The weekend rash of Molly hospitalizations wasn't the first such episode this year at the private university of nearly 3,000 students.
Wesleyan health officials said in a campus-wide email on Sept. 16 that students had been hospitalized the previous two weekends after taking Molly. Students were urged to visit the university's health center if they had questions or concerns.
The police chief said the safety and welfare of community members, including those on the Wesleyan campus, were his top priority.
"Incidents jeopardizing the safety will not be tolerated," he said, "and those offenders will be held accountable."
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.
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