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In the UK, Channel 4 are going to screen a programme on the 26th September, where several volunteers (including actor Keith Allen, an ex-soldier, a vicar) will take the drug Ecstasy aka MDMA. Professor David Nutt, who was an advisor to the government on drugs (before being sacked for saying taking Ecstasy is less dangerous than horse riding) is running the experiment to see what exactly an E does to the brain.
Critics have said that this is a reckless and pointless experiment, is glamourising drugs and is publicity seeking neuroscience.
In a Guardian article, Nutt said “I don't think a scientific programme has any relationship to moral messages. What we're trying to do is understand the effects on the brain of a drug which, as everyone who uses it – by and large – tells us, produces an interesting and profound change in people's feelings in a positive direction.”
This programme will hopefully give us a better scientific understanding about how ecstasy works in the brain – as so little is known. The blurb for the programme claims that it will look into the side-effects and dangers, and will include comment from sceptics.
Is this programme glamourising drugs or should Channel 4 be congratulated for exploring the science behind drugs? Is Nutt right to say that science has no scientific obligation?