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Amsterdam magic mushroom incidents on the rise: health service

Update, Nov. 10, 2008: Sale of hallucinogenic ‘magic’ mushrooms banned starting December 1, 2008

DutchAmsterdam.nl, June 1, 2008 — The number of incidents linked to the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Amsterdam rose last year, with most cases involving foreign tourists, health service statistics showed Saturday.

Medical intervention was needed for 149 incidents in 2007, an increase of 19 percent from the previous year, according to numbers from the municipal health service. Eighty people were taken to hospital.

Some 92 percent of the people involved were foreign tourists, while half were people under 24. Some 79 percent were male.

In April, the Dutch government announced that it would present a bill to ban the mushrooms.

The government’s move follows a proposal from the ministers of health and justice to prohibit the growth and sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms.
– Source: AFP, via France 24, May 31, 2008

Hallucinogens — including LSD and Magic Mushrooms — change your perception of the world, by distorting what you see and hear, or make you experience things that aren’t there at all.

As TIME magazine wrote last year in November, 2007, a ban of Magic Mushrooms “could end up promoting other mind-blowing compounds, some of which pack more punch — and carry more risks — than magic mushrooms.”

Amsterdam smart shop owner explains the effects of using various types of mushrooms

The ban is perceived as a departure from the country’s long-standing approach of seeking pragmatic solutions that aim to reduce the harm of drug use. Questions of drug legality here are hardly a matter of principle. Relatively light drugs as marijuana are not prosecuted in an attempt to isolate their use from that of more addictive drugs, and health services trade used heroin needles for fresh ones to prevent the spread of diseases like AIDS.

Along this line of reasoning, paddos are a relative blessing. “Paddos now dominate the market for trips, and that has only advantages,” says August de Loor, a veteran drugs consultant. “LSD use is down over the last couple of years, and we have seen the concentrations of LSD in a trip decline, because the relatively light paddo has become the norm.”

Rogier Bos, speaking for the expert body that advised the minister on the issue, agrees. “If these consumers switch back to LSD, public health will suffer.” The synthetic hallucinogen, which has been banned since 1966, is usually sold as a piece of impregnated paper, and thus easier to hide and trade than the bulky mushrooms.

LSD is not the only drug set to benefit from a paddo ban. Some experts predict that San Pedro, a cactus of the Andes, could fill some of the hallucinogenic void in the wake of the mushroom ban. – Source: Amsterdam After the Mushroom Ban, TIME, Nov. 7, 2007

See Also
Prepare for Amsterdam Without Magic ‘Shroomsoffsite The Bryant Park Project, NPR, April 30, 2008. Audio: 9 min 39 sec, interview with Amsterdam Magic Mushrooms seller.

The Dutch parliament is proposing a ban on the sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Lawmakers are being misled when they cite dangerous behavior induced by ‘shrooms, according to Charles Overby, who runs Mushroom Galaxy.

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Last updated CET (Central European Time)

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