The Week Unwrapped: Seeing stars, prescribing comedy and decriminalising drugs

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Staring into space

Since it was launched on Christmas Day, the James Webb Telescope has been preparing to start scouring the depths of outer space for clues about the origins of the universe. Since it can see further than any other telescope, the images it sends back to Earth will show events that happened longer ago than any we have previously been able to study. Will that accomplishment justify its huge price tag?

The best medicine

The NHS is piloting an innovative form of therapy for some patients experiencing mental health problems. From this month, GPs in Bristol will be able to prescribe a six-week stand-up comedy course called Comedy on Referral. It will use a combination of psychology and storytelling to help participants deal with trauma, learn self-acceptance and become more resilient. But what’s actually so funny about mental health – and is this a good use of taxpayer money?

Kicking the habit

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, is reportedly developing a pilot scheme that would effectively decriminalise cannabis for under 25s in some London boroughs. Young people found with a small amount of cannabis would instead provide help and support in an attempt to drive down reoffending. The move sets Khan on a collision course with both the Conservative government and his own party leader, Keir Starmer. But as polls show the majority of voters in the UK think criminalisation is not deterring people from using drugs, is it time for a fresh approach?


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