Sting, the pop star and sometime environmentalist, was at the centre of a row yesterday after calling for the dance drug ecstasy to be legalised.
Sting, 44, who admitted taking ecstasy, was speaking in an interview in London with a Swedish newspaper. Asked whether ecstasy should be legalised, he said: "Absolutely, yes. Then we can make sure what we take is safe and that it is ecstasy. If we leave it to the criminals, they can put anything they want into the pill.
"In England, millions of ecstasy pills are consumed every week. Three or four have died in God knows how many years. Teenagers notice the statistics. They are prepared to take the risks." He said he had taken the drug and found it "interesting".
Sting also said: "I have every sympathy for the Betts family and their position and it's a tragedy that she died. But Leah Betts was killed by water - she drank too much or too little - and that's an educational issue."
Janet Betts, the mother of Leah, who died after taking an ecstasy pill at her 18th birthday party, said: "Leah didn't die from excess liquid. The cause of death on the certificate says ecstasy poisoning."
Dr Marcus Rattray, lecturer in biochemistry at Guy's Hospital, London, said the pop star's call for testing was pointless. "Research has shown that the adulteration of drugs has not been a factor in any of the deaths."
Keith Hellawell, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, said: "Sting seems to be under the misapprehension that ecstasy in an unadulterated form is safe. This is clearly not the case."Reuse content