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Televised Drug Experiment Will Include a Vicar, an Actor and an Author

Televised Drug Experiment Will Include a Vicar, an Actor and an Author

The United Kingdom’s Channel 4 plans to air a television show entitled “Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial.” The series will center around an experiment in which a variety of professionals and civilians will take 83mg of MDMA, a Class A form of Ecstasy. Included in the mix will be a vicar, as well as actor Keith Allen, author Lionel Shriver, and an ex-SAS officer, ONTD Political reports.

Apparently, Channel 4 has already filmed the trials in which the famous and unlikely personalities take the drug under scientifically controlled conditions. Professionals administered the MDMA to the voluntary participants but also handed out placebos in order to create a blind experiment. Participants did not know if they had received MDMA or not.

Channel 4 producers argue that the show is intended to be an informative investigation of the impact of MDMA on the brain and body, but many critics claim the show will only glamorize taking drugs. Many health experts feel that putting celebrities on the show and allowing viewers to watch as they ingest drugs will “celebritize” taking substances. These same professionals worry the average viewer might attempt to procure MDMA on the streets, where there is no guarantee of what substances you are purchasing.

Still, the two 60-minute long episodes are intended to be educational and a way to tell the general public about the effects and potential downsides to the drug, the Telegraph reports. Actor Keith Allen stated, “It’s a very, very forensic analysis, a neurological analysis of the effects of MDMA.”

The show will not only include celebrities but also a wide array of participants, such as policemen, soldiers and civilians who have never ingested the drug. After taking the drugs, all of the participants will receive brain scans in order to ascertain the effects MDMA has on the human brain. All of the volunteers were examined by medical and psychiatric professionals in a controlled environment.

Heading up this controversial television program is Professor David Nutt, who once headed up the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, until he advocated for marijuana and other drugs, stating they were less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Last year, Dr. Nutt planned to conduct a clinical trial on the effects of MDMA. In a statement to the Guardian he said:

I feel quite strongly that many drugs with therapeutic potential have been denied to patients and researchers because of the drugs regulation. The drugs have been made illegal in a vain attempt to stop kids using them, but people haven’t thought about the negative consequences.

In the trial conducted by Dr. Nutt in 2011, researchers found that those with post-traumatic stress disorder showed vast improvement with a controlled dosage of MDMA along with counseling. Dr. Nutt has been on a years-long crusade to discover the potential psychiatric uses of MDMA as a tool in therapy. As Dr. Nutt told the Guardian, Ecstasy is “not about dancing around nightclubs.” Perhaps that is why so many people, including a vicar, were willing to try the experiment on national television.

Debates about the safety and acceptance of drugs have haunted political debates in the United Kingdom and the United States over the years. Debates about the uses and side effects of marijuana have been central to state ballots across the U.S. and many states now allow the sale of medical marijuana. President Obama has recently attempted to clarify his position on people who use marijuana as a medical tool and the prosecution of those who produce it. MDMA faces a much bigger uphill battle for acceptance by medical and political authorities on both sides of the pond.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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34 comments

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5:55AM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

I actually think this would be interesting. I'd watch it.

11:11PM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

Something else to convince me that drugs are not dangerous or addictive?

5:56AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

taking reality tv to a new low.

5:44AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

lol MDMA isnt a fun drug - it can have side effects worse the heroin over time because many users dont feel anything wrong after use like some harder drugs give you. So in a sense - u could say MDMA is sorta like meth, crack, and binge drinking combined 10x - but the smptoms and damage is masked under the happy-touchy-feeling the seratonin gives em lol

Ecstasy is still a dangerious drug, infact ALL snthetic drugs, even aspirin, arnt good. Sure some help, for now, but nothing laste forever. - only naturaly grown drugs in their pure form, with moderation and respect for the drugs can make them safe.

4:39AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

'Ecstasy is “not about dancing around nightclubs.”' - surely that should read 'Ecstasy is “not only about dancing around nightclubs.”' ?

6:01PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

That last sentence really put me off. Good that they are doing research, maybe good that they are televising it. But why should this date rape drug ever be legal??

11:09AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

interesting

10:41AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

As the Rastafarians say "The higher you are mon, the closer you are to God."

Damn, I love Rastafarians...

9:14AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Synthesized drugs - such as ecstasy should be banned, when found - destroyed immediately. No one knows what this stuff does to the body. This is one drug that should be made and kept on Illegal substances list. But Marijuana - no one has died from use of it. :)

1:53AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

I hope this isn't government funded, otherwise prepare yoursef for a whole lot of propoganda and scare tactics. A good non-influenced movie about drugs with accurate statistics and scientific experiments is 'The Union - The business behind getting high'. I recommend that everyone watch this film.

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