[Event] The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs & The Teacher Who Raps

by Calum Armstrong

Do you want to see the doctor who got high on cannabis on live TV, and then gave up drugs on BBC One? How about the viral spoken-word artist who’s had over 5million views on a battle-rap video with one of his students?

Stop and Search’, the live podcast about drug policy, has the next live event at Tottenham Court Road’s Waterstones on October 19th. Our frame is rather clichéd: Drugs – Think of the Children! Tickets are free via Eventbrite.

Given the backgrounds of our two guests, we thought a discussion on drug education would be interesting. As most of us will be aware, drug education has had little in the way of evolution, our approach still based on the outmoded concepts of ‘just say no’. How do we connect with our emerging generations to ensure they receive proper, evidence-based drug education over emotive, reactionary concepts based on the desire for abstinence?

Joining us for to explore these themes, and no doubt a whole lot more, we have:

Dr Chris Van Tulleken – As a television presenter and broadcaster, Dr Chris has served his time educating both adults and children. Winning a BAFTA for the CBBC series, Operation Ouch, Dr Tulleken is a regular on the BBC with programmes such as The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs, and Trust Me, I’m a Doctor. In 2015, Chris was the on-air participant in Channel 4’s Drugs Live where he consumed cannabis in front of the nation to test its effects.

Mark Grist – With his background in teaching, Mark has employed some interesting techniques to connect with his pupils, so much so that he’s had over 5million views for a video that shows him battle-rapping his students. This sent Mark viral and attracted a lot of mainstream news attention. Since then, Mark has gone on to become a spoken-word artist and is a regular on the festival scene. It’s a large coincidence that Mark Grist has also battle-rapped our podcast’s network founder, Mr Scroobius Pip.

We shall also have Neil Woods on the show once more – Neil is LEAP UK’s Chairman and has been all over the news channels of late due to his whistleblowing memoir, Good Cop, Bad War. Neil also took part in Channel 4’s Drugs Live where he too consumed cannabis.

So, why do we do this? Why do we gather together a group of interesting folks to talk about drugs in a popular bookshop for a podcast? Because we’re managing to attract new ears; on the last episode of Stop and Search, we discussed how drug policy needs a generational change. Our podcasts are getting the message of drug law reform across to those who have not yet found interest in the topic. With the mix of celebs, MPs, journalists, policy formers, and the fact Waterstones Tottenham Court Road have played host to us, we’re are managing to bring new people into our policy realm.

We also have to thank Scroobius Pip; Pip has given us instant kudos by signing us to his podcast network and giving drug policy a big boost by way of the iTunes chart.

So please do get involved and pop along to our live events and podcast recordings. We try and make it so that we can have some fun and entertainment in the field of drug law reform. As much as we are faced with some grave issues within our sector, we can also break the conversation down so that anyone can have access.

October 19th, London, please do pop down and have your say. Also, we may well get a live performance! See you there…

Jason Reed is the Director of LEAP UK and a regular VolteFace contributor. Tweets @JasonTron

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