Hip-hop music may be influencing black Americans to try the street drug molly, a new study suggests.
Molly -- the powder or crystal form of ecstasy -- is a stimulant and hallucinogenic.
University of South Florida researchers surveyed young black adults who said they'd tried molly. The investigators found that 82 percent of them said hip-hop music had influenced their decision to try the drug.
The researchers noted that many hip-hop songs promote the drug as a way to party and reduce sexual inhibitions without the risks that come with such drugs as heroin and crack.
"Molly, although not as dangerous as opioids, has been linked to psychiatric problems, sexual risk taking and adverse health outcomes like seizures, irregular heartbeat, hyperthermia and even death," the study's lead author, Khary Rigg, said in a university news release. He's a professor of mental health law and policy at the school.
"The behaviors of millennial African Americans are probably the most likely to be influenced by hip-hop music as the artists themselves are typically from that demographic," Rigg said.
"This suggests that rappers may be effective sources for prevention, health promotion and harm-reduction messages aimed at African Americans," he added.
Previous studies have found that hip-hop music can influence listeners' use of alcohol and marijuana. But the researchers behind the new study said this was the first to find a link between hip-hop and molly.
The study was published online recently in the Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more on ecstasy/molly.
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