Posted by: Emily Hardaker1 OCT 2012
This is a rather late review of the second part of Drugs Live; The Ecstasy Trial (see my review of part I here) but hopefully it means you had a chance to watch some of it. But for those few of you who didn't, shame on you. The second programme focussed less on the trial being conducted and more on other issues surrounding the uses (recreational and therapeutic) of MDMA . Although it did follow two subjects who were administered the drug, these being in the form of the actor Keith Allen and a former MP and Doctor, Evan Harris. Allen appeared to feel nothing, and was completely unsure whether he had been given the drug or not. He did admit to being a recreational user and has been for a while, although has had a seven year break since his last session, therefore there was some chance he may have developed a tolerance to it. Evan Harris also claimed not to experience any of the emotional effects associated with Ecstasy, however he was quite clearly experiencing the physical effects. He had the trademark saucer pupils, took a significantly longer time to answer questions and was just hilarious to watch mainly because he was gurning a lot. The show then went on to answer the question about what recreational Ecstasy contained. They had been given permission to test the pills seized by Police at the most recent Glastonbury festival. According to their testing one third of this sample contained no MDMA whatsoever, but instead had a mixture of either Caffeine, Paracetamol, BZP and TFNPP which mimic the MDMA effect. The other two thirds were found to contain 25-115mg of MDMA, of which the average content was 85mg. Half of these MDMA containing pills were also cut with talcum powder or flour. This variation is massive and should cause massive concern with what some people are ingesting. The Priest from the first episode also made another appearance, as it turns out by some miracle stroke of luck, that was definitely not engineered for TV, she once suffered from PTSD. This was due to an assault she once suffered and has since recovered from the disorder. She did provide a very good case for the drug though as before she said she was unable to reach her emotions and felt as though she couldn't connect with those closest to her. A few days after taking the MDMA she described how she was able to fully recall in chronological order the whole assault, which she has been unable to do since it happened. This provided a very strong case for the drug's therapeutic uses, however a tweet sent in during the programme from an ex-serviceman who also suffered from PTSD contradicted this. He stated that he had used MDMA for the same purpose but became dependent on it for the exactly the reasons the trial was investigating. The entire programme (in my opinion) presented the facts and accounts in a manner that was not ignorant of recreational MDMA use but wasn't promoting it. However there was a Daily Mail article that describes how the show has caused controversy amongst viewers by implying it is advocating the drug and its use recreationally. I thought the opposite of this and thought they'd done a good job of presenting a difficult subject to a wide audience. Because unlike other programmes on similar topics, this was not naive in assuming that no one has ever taken the drug. As it does get quite tiring just hearing the same scare stories and dangerous things that could happen rather than people's frank opinions. Then again you're never going to be able to please everyone who watches.