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Mushroom victims often British

16 July 2007 - Last Friday, a 28 year old Frenchman killed his dog with a knife and scissors after using hallucinogenic mushrooms and cannabis. Mushroom incidents are on the rise, mainly among tourists, the Health Service Amsterdam (GGD) reported earlier this year.

During the past months, a 19 year old Icelander jumped from a hotel window, injuring himself, a 22 year old Brit ruined a hotel room and a 17 year old Frenchwoman killed herself by jumping from the roof of the Nemo Science Centre.

In January, the GGD published an analysis of ambulance reports on drug incidents. The number of mushroom-related incidents has risen from 55 in 2004, to 70 in 2005 and 128 in 2006. The number is still low compared to heroin and cocaine (230), cannabis (342) and alcohol (2056).

Today, a police spokesperson told het Parool that mushroom-related incidents seem to be becoming more serious.

According to the GGD study, mushroom victims tend to be young. Like users of cannabis and especially space cake, they are predominantly foreign. Only 7% of mushroom victims are from Amsterdam and 1% from other parts of the Netherlands.

The largest group of mushroom victims is from Britain (30%). Brits make up 26% of foreign tourists in Amsterdam. The GGD found that some smart shops sell mushrooms in quantities that are too high for first time users.

The GGD study was done because a homeless person was indisposed after eating a chocolate bar he had found at Schiphol Airport. It turned out the bar had contained hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Currently, health institute RIVM is studying effects of mushrooms. Depending on the outcome, Minister of Health Ab Klink may decide to ban them.

GGD report (in Dutch, pdf)

UPDATE - According to the NOS, the GGD said the Frenchman who killed his dog had not used mushrooms, although he said he had, but had a pychosis.


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