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Drugs live on TV: The Ecstasy Trial

New Statesman

It sounds like the kind of show dreamed up in the middle of a bender, but Channel 4 will next week give volunteers a dose of MDMA and live broadcast the results in their programme Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial. So what can this tell us?

Michael Brooks says "almost everything we hear about Ecstasy is anecdotal and subjective" and Channel 4's show is important because "it will highlight the fact that we need to get away from anecdotes about Ecstasy, whether positive or negative".

The show also has a sound basis in scientific research: "The objective fact is, we have reason to believe that therapy involving MDMA use can help people get over life-destroying trauma. The study highlighted on Drugs Live involves imaging the brain in an fMRI scanner: early evidence from these scans suggests that the brain on E finds memories of negative experiences much easier to explore."

"People who would benefit from this therapy are not raving, but drowning. It wouldn’t hurt anyone to throw them a lifeline."

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