Check On Mollie

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  • 2020

  • Next Gen
    Social Impact

Designed By:

  • Isabelle Edwards

Commissioned By:

Isabelle Edwards

Designed In:

Australia

Check On Mollie is a harm reduction initiative that prompts recreational ecstasy users to approach drug-use in a safer and more responsible way. The product-service system encourages group engagement with techniques such as drinking water, taking rests and consuming vitamin supplements to mitigate the health-related risks of ecstasy consumption.


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  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • Despite the government’s punitive approach towards drug-use, Australia has the highest ecstasy use per capita in the world (UN World Drug Report 2014). Alongside the risk of overdosing, users can also experience dehydration, overhydration, hyperthermia and imbalanced neurotransmitter activity as a result of consuming ecstasy. This begs the question - what if we treated ecstasy consumption as a public health issue rather than a legal transgression? Through reframing the issue, it becomes clear that users need advice on how to mitigate these health-related risks, delivered in a way that increases their compliance with a harm reduction approach towards drug-use.

  • Mollie is a wearable device that prompts users to engage with harm reduction techniques at specific time intervals, helping to mitigate the health-related risks of ecstasy consumption. The user activates their device by inputting their dosage quantity and expected bedtime, then receives a sequence of notifications advising what to do to stay safe throughout the experience. When a group of friends activate their personal devices together, their notifications sync so that performing the tasks becomes an inclusive experience. This also allows co-users to monitor and assist an intoxicated person if they are unable to follow Mollie’s advice.

  • The purpose of the Check On Mollie initiative is to create a safer and more supportive environment for ecstasy users at Australian music events, rather than to endorse drug-use. While the harm reduction information is delivered in a non-judgmental, inclusive and interactive way, it has also been designed to instil a sense of responsibility in the user to take ownership of their wellbeing, as well as help those around them. By envisioning a speculative future where this product may exist, Check On Mollie aims to shift societal perceptions and influence strategic decisions about Australian drug policy and harm reduction initiatives.

  • Evidence-based research has identified that implementing harm reduction techniques before, during and after ecstasy consumption can alleviate some of the adverse health risks associated with MDMA, ecstasy's psychoactive substance. These techniques include drinking 250-500mL water per hour to sufficiently hydrate, taking time to cool down to prevent overheating, and consuming vitamin supplements such as Vitamin C and 5-HTP to balance increased neurotransmitter activity. Furthermore, harm reduction strategies that target the group experience are arguably more effective at increasing compliance with safer drug-use. Consequently, the Check On Mollie initiative is based on a phenomenon that is unique to the human experience of ecstasy consumption, whereby co-users feel a sense of responsibility to care for each other. This existing human-to-human relationship has been translated to human-to-product, where Mollie provides timed reminders to perform a task and the user is required to respond to the notification to stay in the neutral green state. When users sync their device notifications, Mollie feels like an extra friend in the group whose job it is to look out for everyone’s wellbeing, but in order to truly approach drug-use in a more responsible way, the user must check on Mollie as well as their friends.