Ecstasy Drug Trial

For those who missed it last month, Channel 4 conducted an investigation into the effects of ecstasy (MDMA) on the brain. 25 participants were each given placebo and MDMA doses whilst their brains were scanned. Afterwards each participant (one of which was Keith Allan!) was interviewed about their experience.

Whilst the show was painfully aware of its precarious position, namely trying to remain disapproving of a drug they were revealing to be relatively harmless, it did throw light on a topic often steeped in shadow. Professor Nutt was a particular joy to watch, especially after his unjust treatment by Alan Johnson in the last Labour government.

Click the link and have a watch:

At the end of the show they announced that a further study has been commissioned to look at the effects of ecstasy on PTSD, but for those of us who believe in legalisation, we were left swinging in the wind.

Why is a drug with such few long term effects illegal, whilst alcohol (a ruthless, addictive, deeply harmful drug) not only remains legal but is socially encouraged? The only arguments seem to be weak protests about feeling depressed for a few days after use, though Professor Nutt stressed that this was actually down to exhaustion from activities conducted whilst on the drug, rather than the drug itself.

MDMA is a very cheap drug to produce. In times of economic hardship it is reckless to leave such an enormous source of revenue in the hands of criminal organisations. Legalise it, test it, tax it. The status quo puts users at risk – and worse! – leaves the government out of pocket!

True Weirdness

The terrible weather has led to disaster for many over the past week, but for myself it prompted a rather bizarre experience. My partner and I were making our way to Camden (in the hope of reaching the disappointingly studentish Electric Ballroom) when we were caught in an apocalyptic deluge. Becoming drenched within a matter of seconds we jumped into what appeared to be a small quiet pub in the hopes of drying out and regrouping our spirits.

Upon entry we were greeted with a small but astonishingly eclectic group of individuals, all cavorting about to 80’s tracks, pumped out with much vim and vigour through an overeager sound system. Rather than allowing us to slip into the corner to dry out, we were immediately set upon, offered a change of clothes (which I refused) and as many drinks as I could drip at.

Despite the lack of a dance floor, these Londoners weren’t to be foiled;they danced up and down alongside the bar, and soon my girlfriend was dragged off by a large group of lesbians, of various ages, who insisted that she have a boogie too!

I thought I had made a lucky escape, being left alone at the bar, but this was not to be! As soon as I was by myself a deeply inebriated gentleman began babbling in my direction, eyes as wide as his grin. It turns out he was a devout Muslim taking part in a fast; but the fast only applied to food, not drink, and certainly not to ecstasy, a pill of which he tried to force into my hand.

“Take it, take it! My gift to you!” he muttered above the din. “If I have any more I won’t be able to complete my prayers correctly.”

My girlfriend fortunately came to my rescue, dragging me away from his spinning eyes.

“You must start accepting their drinks,” she hissed, chastising my lack of etiquette. “They’ll take offence otherwise!”

“I can’t! They’re trying to poison me with alcohol, ecstasy and even orange flavoured mousse. The rain seems to have eased for a moment, lets make a dash for it!”

And with that we made our escape, back into the wet London night. Later, we did end up in the Electric Ballroom, but despite all the glitter and colours, there were no freaks there, it’s all just for show. True weirdness is to be found in the local pubs.