News of: Tuesday, March 27 2007,

French tourist in Amsterdam commits suicide after using 'magic mushrooms'

A 17-year old French girl committed suicide last Saturday after using hallucinating mushrooms. Several politicians have called for stricter rules.

The girl was on a school trip to Amsterdam and stayed on a hotel boat in the centre of Amsterdam. After using the mushrooms, she had run off to the Nemo building, which is built over the entry of the tunnel to Amsterdam North. The roof of the Nemo is open to the public, it offers a wide view to the historic city centre. She jumped off the building, fell on the road, and died.

The girl's parents have said they hold the state of the Netherlands responsible for her death, because the sale of the mushrooms is legal. A police spokesman said that the suicide is probably caused by a mix of emotions and use of the mushrooms. 'It is terrible when your daughter dies because of such a tragic event. However, we can not prohibit the sale of the mushrooms, as this is national policy'.

Several politicians in parliament have called for tougher measures against the sale of the mushrooms. Some say the mushrooms should be placed on the list of hard drugs (thus making the sale completely illegal). Questions have been asked to the Minister of Justice about the incident.

The sale of 'magic mushrooms' or 'psychedelic mushrooms' (nicknamed 'paddo's' in Dutch, after the Dutch word 'paddestoel' which means mushroom) in Holland is tolerated. The mushrooms have an effect on the mood of people using them, the exact effect is unpredictable, but they are supposed to make you feel better.
The mushrooms are in Amsterdam for sale at so-called 'smart shops' (they usually also sell related items such as smoking articles, literature about soft drugs, etc.).
The sale of mushrooms is not completely without rules. Sale to minors is prohibited, and an information leaflet should be given with the mushrooms (apparently, the French girl had not bought the mushrooms herself, but older friends). Smart shops are known not to be very strict with checking the age of their clients.