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October 8, 2018

Informational Meeting Oct. 10 in Oswego -

Teens Encouraged to Learn about 'Molly' and Help Combat Synthetic Drug Crisis

OSWEGO - The VOW Foundation, Inc. presents an informational workshop for teens and parents to learn more about 'Molly,' a synthetic drug currently in circulation. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 10 in the training room of the Oswego County Health Department at 70 Bunner Street in Oswego. Participants are asked to enter through the main doors on the west side of the building.

"The current crisis we are dealing with is that 'Molly' or Ecstasy now contains harmful synthetic drugs rather than the MDMA drug that it was known for," said Teresa Woolson, president of the VOW Foundation, Inc. "These ingredients are not regulated, not illegal and cause a lot of harm to drug users.

"Educating our children is the first step toward combatting this problem and the best way to do that is through their peers. Youth are much more likely to listen when other youth are the ones sending the message," she added.

MDMA, or methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, is a synthetic drug that works by altering a person's mood and perception. It increases heart rate and blood pressure, making it particularly risky for people with cardiovascular problems, and can cause panic attacks, psychosis, and seizures.

Adding to these risks, it is more often mixed with other drugs such as cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine, over-the-counter cough medicine, or substituted cathinones such as "bath salts." According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) only 13 percent of 'Molly' seized in New York State since 2014 contained any MDMA at all.

In July 2012, the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act was passed to regulate 26 additive chemicals that were causing harm to users. However, with hundreds of other elements, drug traffickers are able to quickly produce new formulas to get around these regulations. This makes it a challenge for law enforcement and lawmakers to keep up with a constantly-changing landscape of illicit drug manufacturing.

"The type of chemicals and level of dosing of synthetic drugs can vary wildly from, and even within, every batch of 'Molly' that is produced," said Woolson. "That's dangerous for users because is no way to tell exactly what they are taking, how much, or if it is safe.

"That makes this workshop so important. These drugs are primarily marketed to young, first-time drug users. Engaging and empowering teens to take action and become leaders in their peer groups to help stop the use of 'Molly' is not only rewarding for them, but for the entire community as well."

The workshop begins with a presentation about 'Molly' by Tyler Ahart, coordinator for the Oswego County Prevention Coalition. Carlie Morley with the Oswego County Prevention Coalition and Youth Creating Change Coalition will then facilitate a discussion and activities to help the group brainstorm ideas and develop an action plan for sharing this knowledge with their peers. Pizza and soda will be provided for all attendees.

Other agencies are also involved in addressing the current 'Molly' crisis. They include ARISE, Inc.; CiTi BOCES; County of Oswego Council on Alcoholism and Addictions, Inc. (COCOAA); Farnham Family Services, Inc.; New York State Senator Patty Ritchie; Oswego City Police Department; Oswego County Department of Social Services, Mental Hygiene Division; Oswego County Legislature; Oswego County Opportunities, Inc.'s Sober Peers On Top (SPOT) Clubhouse and Health Education; Oswego County Suicide Prevention Coalition; Oswego City-County Youth Bureau; Oswego Health; and SUNY Oswego.

For more information about the workshop or the current 'Molly' crisis, call Teresa Woolson at 315-402-6119 or visit www.vow-foundation.org. Following the death of her son, Victor Orlando Woolson, from a fatal reaction to synthetic marijuana, Woolson organized the VOW Foundation, Inc. to raise awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs and to advocate for stronger legislation against them.

CALLING TEENS AND PARENTS! - The VOW Foundation, Inc. presents a workshop to learn about 'Molly' and the synthetic drug crisis. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 10 at the Oswego County Health Department. Pizza and soda will be served to all attendees. For details, call 315-402-6119.

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