Former MP takes ecstasy for controversial TV programme

Former MP Dr Evan Harris took ecstasy for a controversial TV show looking at the effects and risks of the drug.

Liberal Democrat Dr Harris is one of six people who will be shown taking MDMA (the pure form of ecstasy) on a Channel 4 programme called ‘Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial’.

Dr Harris admitted to taking the Class A drug in the past, which was a requirement for him to take part in the study.


In an interview for the Radio Times, he said:”I wasn’t entering into this hoping to get a free high. I was just keen to help the study.”

Scientists hope to discover whether ecstasy can have therapeutic effects.

But critics have warned the programme will “celebritise” illegal substances.


Julia Manning, chief executive of independent think-tank 2020 Health, previously said it is “reckless and pointless.”

She added: “This will achieve nothing. It’s publicity-seeking TV at its worst.”

The study involves the volunteers taking ecstasy or a placebo before having a brain scan on two occasions.


The trial was designed by a team including Professor David Nutt who was sacked as the UK’s chief drugs advisor in 2009.

He had claimed alcohol and tobacco were more harmful than LSD, ecstasy and cannabis.

David Glover, who commissioned the Channel 4 show, said: “Obviously we don’t want to be part of glamorising drug use.”


He argued that the programme is “brave and radical” and will be about “really rather sophisticated science.”

In July, it was revealed that pop star Lily Allen’s father would be taking part in the show.

Musician and actor Keith Allen said anyone who thought the show “glamorised” drug usage was “insane.”


According to UK charity DrugScope, there have been over 200 reported deaths in the UK involving ecstasy in some way.

In Britain, it is believed nearly half a million people take the Class A drug every year.