Jamie Bartlett asks if new research into psychedelic drugs will lead to them being accepted as mainstream medical treatment - or whether their controversial history will prove insuperable.
After lying dormant for decades, scientific research into psychedelics is experiencing a renaissance. Academics at some of the world’s leading institutions are exploring the potential of these drugs to treat a variety of medical conditions, from addiction to anxiety and depression. The findings so far are astonishing. Admittedly the sample sizes are small and there are methodological problems, yet it appears that psychedelics can help where other treatments before them have failed. So is there any chance that substances like LSD and psilocybin – the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms – will ever become accepted medical treatments?
We have been here before. In the 1960s, researchers published thousands of scientific papers on the potential medical benefits of psychedelics and there were four international conferences on the subject. Within the space of just a few years these efforts came shuddering to a halt, as the recreational use of the drugs ballooned and stories of ‘bad trips’ hit the headlines, leading to strict legal restrictions, which still remain in force.
Jamie examines the latest scientific findings and asks whether the drugs’ cultural stigma can ever be overcome.
Producer: Hannah Barnes
Extra armed police have been put on the streets of Dublin after two murders within just four days of each other. It's being blamed on a flare up of gang wars more akin to Sicily. The first involved gunmen carrying Ak47s disguised as police who burst into a respectable hotel packed with people. The next was assumed to be a swift reprisal: a man was shot several times in his own home. Melanie Abbott travels to Dublin to find out the background to this bitter gang feud and talk to the community caught in the middle.
Producer: Anna Meisel.
Jimmy Savile and the BBC
How did Jimmy Savile get away with it when so many people appear to have known so much?
Media and Arts Correspondent David Sillito tracks down former presenters, producers and BBC executives who worked with Savile. On the day that the Dame Janet Smith Review is published, some speak publicly for the first time and reveal a shocking list of missed warning signs.
Producers: Steven Wright
Researcher: Kirsteen Knight
You can find details of organisations which offer advice and support with sexual abuse by visiting bbc.co.uk/actionline.
This drive for changing the way the NHS operates has been frequently used by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as the reason why a change to junior doctor and consultant contracts is needed. But what does it actually mean? John Ware explores what a seven-day NHS would look like, what evidence there is that it's needed, and, crucially, whether we can afford it.
Reporter: John Ware
Producer: Hannah Barnes
Researcher: Kirsteen Knight.
Trump v the Republicans in New Hampshire: PJ O'Rourke on the campaign trail
The New Hampshire primary is the first proper vote of the American Presidential election. Finally, after all the debates, polls and bluster, voters get to choose their preferred candidate for president.
This year, New Hampshire is seen by many as the moment of truth for the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. The polls say he is on his way to the nomination, but the pundits are almost universally sceptical.
Conservative satirical journalist PJ O'Rourke is a long time watcher of the Republican Party and a veteran at covering elections. He is also a long term resident of New Hampshire, a state so small where you do not have to go looking for the candidates - they will find you. In the last week of the New Hampshire primary, PJ O'Rourke goes on the campaign trail to discover whether voters will really choose a candidate who breaks all the rules of US politics.