Drug Pieces Are Now Trend Stories


By Anna David

If anyone ever wants to make a news story about doing drugs sexy—and no one knows this better than the Times—toss in a couple (or a ton) of rich, fabulous people doing it.

Times have (has) changed, of course. Back in 1987, in a piece called “Rich vs. Poor: Drug Patterns are Diverging,” a Times writer noted that “what may be emerging, some experts believe, is a tale of two drug problems: one in middle-class America, which may be past the worst of a 20-year mass experiment with illegal drugs; the other in the America of the poor, where, amid hopelessness and lack of education, people will suffer the worst consequences of cocaine, heroin and AIDS.

Nowadays, articles about middle-class Americans—or, more typically, upper-middle-class Americans—happily engaging in their “experiment with illegal drugs” are “trend” pieces instead of stern warnings. Instead of the alarmist tones of the ’87 piece—which, for all its alarm, turned out not to be quite accurate (it quoted the “chief of domestic intelligence with the cocaine desk of the FDA” saying that “we believe that cocaine has reached its peak”)—today’s stories are often in the Styles section or, like this one on Molly, in Fashion. (The drug Molly, according to the piece, is “a powder or crystalline form of MDMA.”)

In typical, er, fashion, the Molly piece mentions an unnamed 50-something who was “smart,” “impressive” and had “been written about in the [New Yorker’s] Talk of the Town” who all but pushes Molly on a 22-year-old Columbia senior. This senior has since encountered Molly at other fabulous events—a “birthday celebration,” “a dance party in Williamsburg—while another woman “who works in film” took Molly before going out to a macrobiotic dinner and then dancing. Drug addict poster child and apparent Molly expert Cat Marnell is quoted in the piece and musicians who allegedly reference Molly in their songs (the “allegedly” because Miley Cyrus’ producer swears Cyrus is singing “Miley” and not “Molly) are listed.

While efforts are made to speak to the dangers—experts other than Marnell are quoted, including some MD’s—the general message seems to be that Molly has been anointed by the fabulous people as the drug du jour. As the piece says, “MDMA, which in addition to acting as a stimulant also promotes feelings of bonding and human connection, just might be what people are looking for right now.”

[Photo courtesy of Fox 40.]

the talk.afterpartychatAnna David is the New York Times-bestselling author of the novels Party Girl and Bought and the non-fiction books Reality Matters, Falling For Me and By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There. She speaks at colleges and on TV about addiction and recovery.

Categories: Culture & Politics

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4 replies

  1. Curious what your thoughts are on the show Breaking Bad? Not implying that it makes meth trendy in some way, but the meth culture is definitely now more on people’s minds after watching 4 and a half seasons of that show.

  2. The chemical name has methamphetamine in it, which always has a bad ending.


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