What Is MDA, or Sally, One of the Drugs Scott Weiland Overdosed On?

Sally is similar to Molly, but the highs are different

MDA is often found in pill form. Credit: U.S. Customs/Newsmakers/Getty

Scott Weiland had cocaine, ethanol and methylenedioxyamphetamine, or MDA, in his system when he passed away on December 3, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Friday. Weiland's death was ruled an accidental overdose.

MDA, better known by its street names, Sally, Sass or Sassafras, is less common in the U.S. than Molly, or MDMA, but it actually pre-dates its sister drug. 

Both drugs release the chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, and act as reuptake inhibitors, preventing the brain from stopping the flow of those chemicals. The effect of both is a euphoric and affectionate high.

MDA is more likely to be found in pill form, while MDMA is more likely to be found as a powder. The street cost of both drugs is the same, and they are similar enough that MDA is sometimes sold as MDMA, but Sally produces a noticeably different high than Molly.

MDA is known for being more stimulant and hallucinogenic than MDMA. Sally users report more visual effects, like tracers, a heavier body high and more energy than one gets when dosing on Molly. Users experience a more empathetic and "lovey" high on Molly than on Sally.

According to Paul Dillon of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia, MDA has been linked to some deaths, "usually from seizures, hyperthermia or heart problems."

Weiland had heart disease, asthma and a history of drug abuse, the Hennepin County medical examiner noted, conditions that may have contributed to his death.

The body of the former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver singer was found in early December on a tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota, where he had been scheduled to play a show with his new band the Wildabouts.