A professor from Edge Hill University will appear in the UK’s first televised research trial that examines the effects of the illegal drug Ecstasy.

Phillip Murphy, Professor of Psychology at the University, will join TV presenters Dr Christian Jessen and Jon Snow who will host two Channel 4 shows that follow volunteers as they take MDMA, the pure form of ecstasy, as part of a ground-breaking scientific study.

Producers of Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial approached Professor Murphy for his expertise following his extensive research into the psychological effects of the Class A drug. He has co-authored many scientific articles and conference papers since 2000 on impaired psychological functioning in ecstasy users, with his findings suggesting that users of the drug could suffer memory loss as a result.

The televised study is led by former Government adviser Professor David Nutt, who believes that use of MDMA can be used as an effective and safe psychiatric treatment, treating disorders such Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and depression.

Professor Phillip Murphy says: “There may be some clinical gain from the managed use of MDMA by qualified clinicians in a controlled environment for the treatment of some psychological disorders, but it is vital that the impression is not given that ecstasy is a safe drug to use recreationally.

“Although the precise details of Professor Nutt’s study are not known yet, it has to be remembered that adverse psychological reactions such as depression in the days following consumption can be associated with ecstasy use and in admittedly rare cases, psychotic episodes have also been associated with its use.

“There is no drug treatment used in medicine that is without some level of risk. However, the context of a television programme for exploring the clinical use of MDMA potentially opens the door to public misunderstanding of the potentially harmful effects of this drug. We are still learning about its long-term effects on psychological functioning such as memory abilities.”

Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial is screened on Channel 4 on Wednesday 26 September at 10pm.

You can watch Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial here

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