Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial is a live TV event in the UK where six volunteers will be shown taking MDMA (ecstasy) and undergoing a series of tests, including monitoring brain activity caused by the Class A drug.
A former MP, an author and a comedian are among the volunteers who will try MDMA in front of cameras as they face a variety of tests and reveal to doctors what they're experiencing. As this report explains, all subjects are either given MDMA or a placebo; after an hour, neural readings are taken with an fMRI machine.
Why MDMA? The Guardian writes "there is a real concern among many scientists that the government's classification of the drug as Class A overstates the danger it poses to society and inhibits important research that could help people suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."
The show will air on UK's Channel on Sept. 26 and Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. local time.
The experiment has been designed by Val Curran, professor of psychology at University College London, and David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, the Guardian notes.
One of the volunteers is former MP Evan Harris, who said the TV programme offered "a valuable opportunity" to discuss the issues surrounding ecstasy and a chance to give the public "balanced, evidence based information" about the drug, as BBC News writes. Harris added he's an admirer of the work of Prof. Nutt, who was fired in 2009 after clashing with the then Labour home secretary Alan Johnson over drugs policy.
Other notable figures participating include We Need to Talk About Kevin author Lional Shriver and funnyman Keith Allen.
The broadcast experiments are part of a larger six-month study that will be described in detail in a peer-reviewed article next year, the Guardian says.
A similar show aired last year in the U.S. on Discovery. Robin William hosted Your Body on Drugs, allowing viewers to witness the effects of various drugs (cannabis, cocaine, meth) on people who undergo mental and physical challenges.