Keith Allen is one of the show's participants

Keith Allen is one of the show's participants

Tonight Channel 4 will broadcast the first in a series of four controversial documentaries looking at the effects of ecstasy, or MDMA to give it its proper name.

While this might have raised eyebrows to start with, but it’s the nature of the documentary that’s causing such a stir. Hosted by a combination of John Snow and Dr Christian Jessen, Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial will show a number of volunteers taking the drug on screen.

Some have thrown their hands up in protest to Channel 4’s plans, if the actual show stands by its claims of merely wanting to conduct a clean, scientific analysis, then there’s not that much to be baulked at.

That the show will be featuring Keith Allen and former MP Dr Evan Harris in the trials may have grabbed most of the headlines, but it’s not just a celeb-fest on the show, as it’s group will also feature a vicar and an ex-soldier amongst others.

This research was going to happen eventually, be it behind closed doors or in front of a camera lens. Research into illegal drugs is easily just as useful as research into legal drugs, as any information gathered will surely help save lives of those who choose to take the substance regardless of legislation.

Some have claimed that it will simply glamourize the use of drugs. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure that sitting in a control room with a few scientists watching my every twitch and writing down every word I say is one of the least glamorous uses of drugs.

That this episode of the show is set to talk about the dangers of taking MDMA and the possible side effects of the drug just further helps the show possible dissolve those criticisms.

Hopefully the show will explore the darker side of MDMA, where the substance isn’t pure and the dangers are exponentially higher to the taker.

Sure it’s attention grabbing get celebrity names and yes the drug is illegal, but if the outcome of the show is the ability to spread more knowledge about a widespread narcotic to a bigger audience than a traditional documentary might, then surely that offsets the problems the show might have.


FemaleFirst Cameron Smith