Alarm over magic mushroom sale

DRUG experts were today appalled to learn that magic mushrooms which can cause severe mental illness, are being sold over the counter.Suffolk's Drug Action Team spoke out after The Evening Star revealed the hallucinogenic plants are being sold in Ipswich town centre at The Purple Shop.

DRUG experts were today appalled to learn that magic mushrooms which can cause severe mental illness, are being sold over the counter.

Suffolk's Drug Action Team spoke out after The Evening Star revealed the hallucinogenic plants are being sold in Ipswich town centre at The Purple Shop.

Co-ordinator Carey Godfrey said: "We are very concerned that shops or people are selling magic mushrooms.

"Although they are legal to possess, they can have very dangerous side-effects and can trigger mental health problems. It's very irresponsible to market these sorts of drugs and we would hope that it would not continue.


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"It's especially worrying if young people are going to be encouraged to use them."

Drug action team educator Robin Herne said users could expect a similar effect to LSD.

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And he warned of the danger users face of eating highly poisonous fungi they may have confused with liberty cap mushrooms.

A Home Office spokesman confirmed there was nothing illegal in selling magic mushrooms – as long as they were in the state nature intended.

Magic mushrooms generally contain either psilocin or psilocybin – both Class A banned substances.

But the spokesman said the mushrooms were perfectly legal, as long as there had been no attempt to extract the drugs.

He said if the plants were dried, powdered or even frozen it would be against the law. And he warned even putting the mushrooms in a fridge to keep them fresh could be judged illegal in the courts.

Mr Godfrey warned that even though the plants are legal and natural, their effects can be just as worrying as unlawful drugs.

He said: "Some people have had very bad experiences with these sorts of drugs where they thought they were going mad and were not in control of themselves."

Lyndsay Thomes, owner of the Purple Shop in Fonnereau Road, said: "Everything we sell is perfectly legal, the pipes and bongs are meant for tobacco use. The mushrooms we sell have not been prepared in anyway so are also perfectly legal. We only sell them to people aged over 18 and we are strict on ID. The demand across the UK is massive.

"The mushrooms are originally from South America and but are grown in Amsterdam. Their spores have been found in graves that are over 2,500 years old so they have been used for a very long time."

"They contain a chemical called Psillocybin that the human body already contains. All the mushrooms do is give it a boost. They are not illegal, not addictive and are perfectly safe. It is just a bit of harmless fun, a natural high.

"Anti-drugs campaigners should worry about the illegal class 'A's that are available in the town centre or perhaps look at alcohol as their main target.

"Saying that taking the mushrooms will lead on to harder drugs is like saying if you drink beer it will lead you on to drinking whiskey all the time. I'm a beer drinker and still drink beer."

"Retailers should not be targeted as we are doing nothing wrong. If a product is legal and in demand then someone is going to sell it. The problem needs to be tackled by the government not by the retailer. The product has Home Office approval."

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