Channel 4 will court controversy by airing a documentary which broadcasts people taking class A drugs live on air later this year. A number of drugs charities have already expressed their concerns over the programme, despite the fact that the BBC have effectively been doing the same thing every summer since they started broadcasting the Glastonbury festival.
Drugs Live, will show participants taking drugs such as ecstasy under clinical conditions, so viewers are able to see how they affect the body. Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer explained that the four-part series will “bring much needed clarity to a social issue often mired in controversy or confusion” and come with “a sense of mischief”.
Hunt described the drugs debate as an “incredibly important area of social policy” and said that Channel 4 aimed to put itself on “the front foot to provide some interesting and useful data”. Before emphasising that the experiment will be tightly controlled.
“The show will take place under strict medical supervision and in a controlled clinical environment, individuals will be filmed as they use different substances,” said Hunt. “Their physical and psychological effects will be monitored, as will their social interaction with others as the drugs enter their systems.”
However Marolin Watson, a campaigner for drugs awareness charity Hope UK said she had concerns over C4’s motives.
“It is difficult to know what Channel 4 will achieve by this exercise apart from ‘bringing a sense of mischief back to the broadcaster,” she explained.
“It would be sad indeed if that mischief extended to giving young people a false sense of security about using drugs, because a one-time experimental dose will not show the long-term consequences of Class A drug use or the negative impact of addiction on people’s lives.”