Drugslab, the Dutch YouTube channel dedicated to doing drugs so you don’t have to, is coming under fire for — well, doing drugs openly on YouTube.
The willing hosts, Nellie Benner, Bastiaan Rosman, and Rens Polman, test out different substances including MDMA, cocaine, salvia, mushrooms, DMT, and poppers, all while being hooked up to body temperature and heart monitors.
While on the surface it might look like a program aimed to encourage drugs use, the purpose is to enlighten. The “science and education” channel is produced and fully supported by by BNN-Vara, a public broadcaster in the Netherlands.
BNN broadcaster Jelle Klumpenaar explains the show to be a version of drug safety: “In many countries drugs are taboo, but even in those countries there are young people who experiment. They also want to know how to take drugs safely.”
Benner agrees: “Young people will come into contact with drugs anyway. Not talking about drugs just makes them more curious. We don’t tell people: ‘You have to use drugs.’ We just give advice that is fun to watch. I think it’s important people understand how they work: in case they are ever tempted to take them.”
Despite its intentions, Drugslab has reportedly sparked an outrage in the UK. A grandmother to a 16-year-old victim of a deadly cocktail including “cocaine, ecstasy and LSD” has criticized the show for “glamorizing” drug use.
Now, the Commons’ Digital and Culture Committee is being asked it be taken down… Tory MP Simon Hart states: “People may conceivably die after doing what the people in these videos are doing. To argue they are performing an educational purpose is utterly disingenuous. People are beginning to wonder how serious online companies such as YouTube are about behaving responsibly instead of claiming it’s freedom of speech or whatever.”
YouTube’s stance: “Drugslab is a channel from a respected national public broadcaster in the Netherlands and aims to educate around the safe use and dangers of drugs. While YouTube has clear policies against content that encourages people to do dangerous or harmful things, we make exceptions for content with clear educational or documentary value.”
Watch for yourself right here (before these videos possibly get taken down) and binge on the show here.