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BBC defends presenter taking drugs
The Press Association

The BBC has defended a new show in which a reporter takes drugs on camera to demonstrate its effects.Should I Smoke Dope? will be broadcast later this year on channel BBC3, which is aimed at 16 to 34-year-olds.

Viewers will see journalist Nicky Taylor injected with THC – a chemical component of cannabis – in a lab at the Institute of Psychiatry.

She is also seen taking drugs in Amsterdam.

The BBC said the programme aimed to highlight the risks of cannabis use – but added that Taylor had suffered no ill effects since filming ended.

The UK government is trying to return marijuana to a Class B drug (it was demoted to a Class C in 2004; now they’re trying to change it back).This program is meant to air on the eve of the decision to reclassify the drug.

Is the delayed programming is meant to reduce the opportunity for critical analysis of the conclusions?

Is this a propaganda film?

Journalist Nicky Taylor has also made programs that feature her binge drinking and having surgery. The BBC claims that this program is committed to raising awareness to young people about the health risks of taking drugs.

What doesn’t make sense about this story is that she injects the drug – a method never used with cannabis. This would be like injecting alcohol to try to get drunk. And to add to that, she has no apparent experience with the drug and is injecting an especially potent form of it.

She said that the experience was “dramatic and unpleasant,” but that she has not had any ill effects since the experiment.

This story may produce one of two results:

  1. Propaganda: By using the drug in an extreme way, to make the drug seem far worse than it really is – this can be used as propaganda against marijuana.
  2. Reality: Even though she used unconventional, unpleasant, and undesirable methods, there were no lasting adverse effects – proving that the drug is less harmful than it’s made out to be.

It seems more likely that this will be a call to reality. As she will have smoked cannabis beforehand, at least this will give a real account of what it’s like to use marijuana.

But on the other hand, she may be trying to suggest that people will eventually start injecting it in order to get stronger effects.

The story has already drawn some criticism:

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity Sane, told the Daily Telegraph: “It is difficult to see what can be learnt from this experiment. Cannabis affects no two individuals in the same way”

So in other words, whatever happened to Nicky Taylor in this experiment – it does not necessarily translate to what happens generally.

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