This evening John Snow and Dr Christian Jessen presented the first of a two-part show, Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial (26 September, 10pm).
25 participants including a priest, a former MP, an ex-SAS soldier and the deputy editor of the New Scientist took part in the Channel 4 experiment volunteering themselves to take 83mg of MDMA, ecstasy to see how it affects the human brain.
A recent EU Drugs Agency report showed that nearly half a million people are believed to take the Class A drug ecstasy every year in Britain. The six-month long neuroscience study was designed by two of the world’s leading experts on MDMA, psychopharmacologists Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London and Professor Val Curran of University College London.
At first glance I thought I had tuned into controversial comedy Brass eye…
The actual aim of the programme is to debate certain issues surrounding and inform the public about the effects and potential risks of MDMA.
Two of the participants who both took the drug experienced different reactions to taking the ‘love drug’. A male nurse felt relaxed and calm where as an ex-SAS soldier felt paranoid and slightly angry.
Earlier this year film-maker Keith Allen, a participant of the show defended the experiment when he said “If you think that I’m glamourising the taking of drugs by spending an hour and 20 minutes for two consecutive Mondays in an MRI scanning machine, then you’re insane.” This was after Simon Antrobus, the CEO of Addaction, criticised the programme by saying it risks downplaying the negative sides of dangerous drugs.
The experiment touched on the effects of MDMA suggesting that it effects people in different ways. Paranoia, anger, confusion and love are just some of the affects.
The programme didn’t really portray the drug in a severely bad light as many frequent users came forward and declared that the effects are only short-term and that they will carry on using the ecstasy. Tomorrow’s show will go into more detail on the effects of the drug on the brain, maybe then the real danger of MDMA will be explained…
The next episode will be on tomorrow (27 Thursday, 10pm) on Channel 4